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A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: hal
Date: September 17, 2021 01:00PM
[idahocapitalsun.com]
(a partial clip - no paywall)

It was quiet at 10 a.m. in the emergency department of the region’s only major trauma center. The ER had about 30 beds, with two in a hallway.

Most of those beds were open and ready to take all comers.

That changed quickly.

There were 24 patients by 10:43 a.m. When the department’s chief physician checked the board two minutes later, there were 28.

The coronavirus isn’t the only reason people go to the ER. They come in with ailments and injuries of all sorts. But the COVID-19 patients are especially sick. Even 18 months into the pandemic, there’s no miracle cure to give them — just a vaccine that almost none of them chose to get but many wish they had, doctors and nurses said.

“Yesterday or the day before, there was someone who was diagnosed with COVID as an outpatient, who was getting worse, came (to the hospital) and walked in and coded in the lobby,” said Emergency Medical Director Dr. Andrew Southard.

With the surge in COVID-19 illness taking up so many beds, it’s not unusual for the ER to become a grim kind of hotel, where patients wait to be admitted to a medical or ICU bed.

Patients in the ER on Thursday morning included people who’d been waiting 17 hours, 19 hours, 22 hours.

“In normal times, it would be extremely rare that I would come down to see a patient the next day in the emergency department,” said Dr. Britani Hill, a trauma surgeon in the Saint Alphonsus ER. “It has been on a regular basis that we have patients that are boarding down here, that we are rounding on them. We have patients that are actually (being discharged) from the emergency department, where they’ve stayed here for two days, and they never did get a bed upstairs.”

The ER is active and loud by 11 a.m. A couple patients are wheeled in on gurneys. Alarms sound, warning that patients might be in trouble: heart rate too fast; heart rate too slow.

“At the end of the day, in emergency medicine, we want to take care of sick people, provide for the community, we want to save as many lives as we can,” Southard said. “So we all trained for disasters. Most (of us were) never a part of them.”

Orthopedic surgery rooms aren’t orthopedic surgery rooms anymore. The cardiac ICU isn’t just a cardiac ICU anymore. One of the pediatric departments isn’t a pediatric department anymore. At Saint Alphonsus in Boise, they’ve all been changed to make room for COVID-19.

That’s what happens when a highly contagious virus is given almost free rein in a state where half the population is unprotected by vaccines.

When a patient with COVID-19 is too sick to go home from the emergency room, they go upstairs, to the fifth floor. That’s where Dr. Carolyn McFarlane and her team of hospital physicians and nurses work around the clock to help patients recover.

“It’s quiet, until it’s not quiet,” McFarlane said. “And the issue is, when you have multiple patients crashing simultaneously, that’s when you really notice the heat start to turn up.”

The doctors and nurses in the COVID-19 medical unit have been working with patients — almost entirely unvaccinated ones — for months. They have asked people to get vaccinated for months.

McFarlane says the “crisis standards” announcement came as no surprise. But when she got the news, she felt “defeated,” she said. “I feel like we broke the system. In many ways. That our community, unfortunately, I think, wasn’t hearing the messages of health care providers for weeks and weeks.”

Alicia Luciani is a registered nurse who, like McFarlane, is beyond frustrated by the people and ideological groups who spread bogus information about COVID-19 — keeping Idahoans from getting vaccinated and pushing them toward useless products instead of early medical care.

The friction in the room, the argument of, 'Why aren't you providing this therapy?' It takes time.

Luciani said she personally thinks many Idaho leaders aren’t delivering a strong and consistent message to the public about COVID-19.

“A lot of us say all the time, ‘I wish I could wear a camera,’ just so people could see what I’m seeing on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s really hard to hold up iPads for family members, massive amounts of family members, to say goodbye to their loved one.”

Luciani said she couldn’t think of the saddest moment she’s experienced as a nurse in this pandemic. “It’s so much,” she said, in tears. “The moments are countless.”

Luciani and McFarlane both said many of the patients coming in now are in their 30s to 50s. These patients have children.

It has begun to feel like a battlefield with mass casualties — and, in a way, it is, McFarlane said. “Just a little slower rolling.”
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Re: A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: RgrF
Date: September 17, 2021 01:30PM
Alaska is right on Idaho's heels.

The state’s hospital data dashboard on Thursday showed that as of Wednesday there were at least 206 people being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. It also showed that as of Wednesday there were no adult ICU beds left available in Anchorage. There were 14 left open statewide, the data show.
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Re: A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: hal
Date: September 17, 2021 02:11PM
Quote
RgrF
Alaska is right on Idaho's heels.

The state’s hospital data dashboard on Thursday showed that as of Wednesday there were at least 206 people being hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. It also showed that as of Wednesday there were no adult ICU beds left available in Anchorage. There were 14 left open statewide, the data show.

[www.washingtonpost.com]

Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, a physician on the coronavirus triage committee at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, found her team last weekend making one of the most agonizing decisions of their careers. With the delta variant surging, the hospital was overwhelmed, and the doctor-on-call had paged the group for guidance.

Four patients needed continuous kidney dialysis, her colleague explained, but only two machines could be made available. How should I choose?

“This is the worst it's been for us,” Solana Walkinshaw said, and “it's not over.”

Rationing medical care, one of the most feared scenarios of the pandemic, is becoming a reality in a few parts of the United States as coronavirus infections remain at surge levels.
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Re: A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: Z
Date: September 18, 2021 01:41AM
On the topic of Anchorage, Mrs Z wrote the mayor a letter yesterday -

[thebluealaskan.com]

Oh, and our new mayor as of July 1 is a flaming, juvenile idiot.

[www.alaskapublic.org]

From a weekly political newsletter:
Quote
Matt Buxton at The Midnight Sun

Speedrunning your term
Speaking of Anchorage, It’s been another banner week for Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson. He met the Anchorage Assembly’s request to, please, do something to actively slow the spread of the covid-19 by telling them to get bent; he fired a whistleblower for raising concerns about the hiring of Jim Winegarner and then gave Winegarner the whistleblower’s job; in the middle of a pandemic that is straining first responders to the brink, he’s announced that he will pinch between $75,000 and $125,000 out of the fire department’s overtime budget (though he’s leaving Eagle River’s stations alone); and the city’s rushed change of operators at the Sullivan Arena shelter looks to be going about as expected when you boot the operator and bring in a new year-old for-profit operator with no formal handover or transition plan. Oh, and last week folks dug up an 2013 article where Bronson wrote “Adolph Hitler was not always a tyrant.”
And, sure, this all probably raises the question of “So, when do we start looking at recalling this guy?” Well, first, under state law you can’t kick off a recall until someone’s been in office for 120 days, which would open the doors at the end of October. And given the pretty expansive court rulings on what can constitute a recall, it’s likely not going to be hard to find something from this week alone that can justify the “If it looks like it would be a violation of law, then that’s good enough for us” standard set by the courts in the Recall Dunleavy effort.
I’m of two minds on what I’d expect to be the inevitable effort to cut Bronson’s term short:
• On the one hand, recalls are resource-intensive endeavors that have not yet panned out in Alaska (for a lot of complicated reasons) with a bunch of high-stakes assembly races that will be on the ballot in April of next year as well as the recall of one on Oct. 26 (the registration deadline for that election is on Sept. 26). Those seats have and are critical to serving as a check on Bronson.
• Which brings me to the other hand of the recall question. What better rallying cry against Bronson than a recall? And even if it doesn’t work, it serves as an outlet and rallying cry that can be translated into greater investment in the assembly races themselves. Just look at how scared Dunleavy has been running, after all.
And, besides, Bronson is already well underway with that campaign, cultivating a fine patina of grievance with his “the Left or the assembly at least” that he surely hopes to translate into another fervent wave for the next election.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2021 01:54AM by Z.
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Re: A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: RgrF
Date: September 18, 2021 12:57PM
Wow!
Sounds like Anchorage is living the MAGA dream.
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Re: A look inside an Idaho hospital under 'crisis care' (aka triage, death panels) - YAY for great local reporting
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 20, 2021 06:30PM
Good for Assemblywoman Z!



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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