Hospitals Are Experiencing Bed Shortages
The highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has increased hospital visits greatly. The number of hospitalized patients due to the variant has reached over 100,000. This approaches record numbers of hospital beds filled. The increase in patients leaves hospitals understaffed and with limited resources. Because of this, other patients in need of immediate medical care experience a great delay.
Transferring Critical Patients
Oftentimes COVID-19 and critical patients must be transferred to a larger hospital. This is due to limited specialists or necessary equipment at their current hospital. Because of the shortage of hospital beds and medical care, there is often a long time period between hospitals and medical care. Within the time frame, patients become sicker, or even worse, die. If hospitals were not under so much strain and patients received care earlier, these patients suffering from COVID-19 and other sicknesses may have increased survival rates.
Improving Patient Care
Hospitals are continually learning from past experiences to deal with future outbreaks and improve survival rates. Hospitals used strategies to increase staffing, postponed nonessential medical care, and perfected treatments and the use of new drugs. Although despite these efforts, during the surges, there were increased delays and survival rates decreased. During this time, the amount of COVID-19 related deaths nearly doubled in some hospitals. This demonstrates the large impact COVID-19 has on the population and its ability to outmatch resources, specifically the number of hospital beds.
Causes of Increased In- Hospital Deaths
Data shows that in- hospital death rates increased from 2.1% to 2.6% between March 2020 and July 31st. Ian Barbash, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and ICU doctor, says, “The higher mortality rates would amount to about 50 additional deaths for every 10,000 non- COVID-19 patients.” Data research suggests that the increase is due to COVID-19 related stress. The pandemic overwhelms medical workers, leaving them less time to care for critical patients. Another potential reason is because healthier patients did not go to the hospital during COVID-19 surges. This leaves hospitals filled with sicker patients who are more likely to die.
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