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Covid-19 and U.S. Hospitals

As cases surge, hospitals are filling with patients and losing staff

Despite planning for months, many hospital systems in the nation have not enough available beds and are suffering from a shortage of doctors and nurses. To make matters worse, the rising infection rate among nurses has made the jobs of those still standing even more difficult.

All across the country, hospitals are packed with record numbers of Covid-19 patients. This overflow is affecting both people with the virus as well as people seeking help with non-Covid related issues. One non-Covid patient in Wisconsin was stuck laying on a gurney for 13 hours in excruciating pain in an emergency room hallway, unable to get the attention of doctors and nurses. A patient in Missouri with a brain abscess had to wait a full day before flying to another state to receive surgery

Nurses have reported that they are caring for too many patients at once because of the shortage of staff. Hospitals have had to turn away patients needing urgent care and incoming emergencies. Smaller hospitals who would beg larger hospitals to take in one more patients are now finding that larger medical centers are overflowing too and have limited the number of transfers they accept.

According to Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 advisory council, health care systems in the United States are “are verging on the edge of breaking.” According to Dr. Osterholm, the public is unaware how serious the situation is and unfortunately there may not be change until the situation gets even worse, to the point where patients are stuck waiting in the emergency rooms for a bed for hours until they eventually die.

Abelson, Reed. “Covid-19 Live Updates: Covid Is Slamming U.S. Hospitals with Patients and Robbing Them of Staff, Pushing Health Systems to the Edge.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2020, www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/27/world/covid-19- coronavirus.