Kansas City-area Hospitals Warn They Are Overwhelmed - Gatous News

Kansas City-area hospitals warn they are overwhelmed

Kansas City-area hospitals are warning that they are overwhelmed. Families said they have waited as long as 10 hours at emergency rooms to be seen. And it’s not something localized to Kansas City. This is a nationwide problem.Sometimes, there is no wait at emergency rooms in Kansas City, and other times, it takes hours to be seen.Dr. Marc Larsen pulled up a screen on his computer monitor and read from it: “Sepsis, pancreatitis, head injury.” His list tells the story we can’t see. He pointed at a number on the monitor.”These are admitted. They’re waiting for a bed upstairs,” he said. “There are people in our hallways waiting for beds.”Waiting is not something you want to do in an emergency. Larsen, who is also the Saint Luke’s System capacity manager officer, doesn’t want waiting in his emergency department.”We’re hit with a flu season like we haven’t seen in years,” he said. Almost 1,100 people came into Saint Luke’s emergency rooms during Thanksgiving week for flu and respiratory symptoms.Larsen pulled up a line graph that charted six years of flu in Saint Luke’s Health System patients. in 2016, the most flu patients the health system saw in a week was 191. In 2021, with masking during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health system did not see a single flu case for all of the November to February flu season. “We see a lot of people come in just because they need a test,” Larsen said. “And we can have people waiting for six to eight hours in the emergency department — people just waiting for testing.” Larsen, who is an emergency department physician, said he doesn’t want those extra people to impede the care of the other patients.”It’s not just respiratory viruses we’re seeing right now,” he said. “It’s all the other things. It’s heart attacks, it’s strokes, and traumas, and falls, and abdominal pains. And those are the things are typically used to seeing them. But when you’re seeing those volumes of additional 900 or 1,000 patients a week being tested for a respiratory virus, you can see how easily, and how fragile, that system can collapse.”Dr. Kenneth Marshall of the University of Kansas Health System said, “It has been absolutely dramatic. Some days, the wait is five and six hours. And these are even for patients that are very ill — and it’s not because the staff isn’t trying hard.”The staff is trying hard but there are fewer staff from every department from nursing to environmental services to dietary. During the pandemic, some left, some stayed. They, or their family members, are currently sick so the healthy ones left on the floor are overwhelmed.Marshall described what so many in the emergency departments are feeling, calling it a moral burden. “It’s fatiguing. When our triage nurses are dealing with patients, or patients’ families who are coming back up and saying, ‘We’ve been waiting, waiting for an hour, we’ve been here for two hours.’ It’s very difficult because you can see that they’re suffering. And that’s what we’re here for: to relieve suffering and the cure for sickness. If you’re not able to do that immediately, it wears on you.”That may change in the future. The University of Kansas Health System is expanding its emergency department. By October 2023, it’s supposed to go from 53 beds to 78 beds.IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMSLarsen with Saint Luke’s encourages people with severe flu-like symptoms to go to an urgent care; most can test for flu, RSV, and COVID-19 and get fast results. Other options include area convenient cares, and telemedicine appointments. For people with symptoms, he strongly recommends taking an at-home COVID-19 test. If that’s negative, he said to assume you have RSV or the flu, and stay home. Manage your symptoms. Rest and stay away from others for several days. If you struggle to breathe, begin to dehydrate from vomiting, or become confused, that’s when it’s time to go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital. He also notes the busiest times for emergency departments – in the afternoon, as children get out of school, and people leave work.PEDIATRIC MEDICINE SHORTAGESTalk to any parent right now, and they’ll probably have a story about running to the store to find some children’s medication – only to find bare shelves. There is a nationwide shortage because of the RSV and flu viruses. Both cause headaches, muscle aches, and fever. Both Tylenol and ibuprofen can mitigate the symptoms. The unprecedented flu season is causing shortages of those common medicines. Now, amoxicillin is also on the hard-to-find list.Dr. Shawn Sood, a physician in the University of Kansas Health System’s Pediatric ICU, explained why there was a shortage on a drug that does not work with viruses.”When you have a viral infection, you’re actually predisposed to get a secondary infection, “he said. “So if my child has a virus, the chances of him getting an ear infection, pneumonia, or a urinary tract infection is actually higher. We are seeing an uptick in bacterial infections because more kids are getting viruses.” Sood said there are other Drugs aside from amoxicillin that can treat bacterial infections. Sood also added the amoxicillin shortage is only in the liquid form; it is still available in capsules. To get your young child to take it, sprinkle the capsule’s contents onto your child’s favorite food; he suggests applesauce or yogurt. However, Sood did not predict an easy winter for parents. He said he believes this will be a difficult cold and flu season that will last well past the holidays. Already, it’s taxing the hospital’s Pediatric ICU; it’s expanded from six to 10 beds, borrowing from other ICUs on the campus. Sood said that for every bed he has open in the PICU, he gets two calls from a hospital whose child needs it. He said his PICU has had pediatric patients from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Saint Louis, and Iowa already this year.

Kansas City-area hospitals are warning that they are overwhelmed.

Families said they have waited as long as 10 hours at emergency rooms to be seen. And it’s not something localized to Kansas City. This is a nationwide problem.

Sometimes, there is no waiting at emergency rooms in Kansas City, and other times, it takes hours to be seen.

dr Marc Larsen pulled up a screen on his computer monitor and read from it: “Sepsis, pancreatitis, head injury.” His list tells the story we can’t see.

He pointed at a number on the monitor.

“These are admitted. They’re waiting for a bed upstairs,” he said. “There are people in our hallways waiting for beds.”

Waiting is not something you want to do in an emergency. Larsen, who is also the Saint Luke’s System capacity manager officer, doesn’t want waiting in his emergency department.

“We’re hit with a flu season like we haven’t seen in years,” he said.

Almost 1,100 people came into Saint Luke’s emergency rooms during Thanksgiving week for flu and respiratory symptoms.

Larsen pulled up a line graph that charted six years of flu in Saint Luke’s Health System patients. in 2016, the most flu patients the health system saw in a week was 191. In 2021, with masking during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health system did not see a single flu case for all of the November to February flu season.

“We see a lot of people come in just because they need a test,” Larsen said. “And we can have people waiting for six to eight hours in the emergency department — people just waiting for testing.”

Larsen, who is an emergency department physician, said he doesn’t want those extra people to impede the care of the other patients.

“It’s not just respiratory viruses we’re seeing right now,” he said. “It’s all the other things. It’s heart attacks, it’s strokes, and traumas, and falls, and abdominal pains. And those are the things are typically used to seeing them. But when you’re seeing those volumes of additional 900 or 1,000 patients a week being tested for a respiratory virus, you can see how easily, and how fragile, that system can collapse.”

dr Kenneth Marshall of the University of Kansas Health System said, “It has been absolutely dramatic. Some days, the wait is five and six hours. And these are even for patients that are very ill — and it’s not because the staff isn’t trying hard.”

The staff is trying hard but there are fewer staff from every department from nursing to environmental services to dietary. During the pandemic, some left, some stayed. They, or their family members, are currently sick so the healthy ones left on the floor are overwhelmed.

Marshall described what so many in the emergency departments are feeling, calling it a moral burden.

“It’s fatiguing. When our triage nurses are dealing with patients, or patients’ families who are coming back up and saying, ‘We’ve been waiting, waiting for an hour, we’ve been here for two hours.’ It’s very difficult because you can see that they’re suffering. And that’s what we’re here for: to relieve suffering and the cure for sickness. If you’re not able to do that immediately, it wears on you.”

That may change in the future. The University of Kansas Health System is expanding its emergency department. By October 2023, it’s supposed to go from 53 beds to 78 beds.

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

Larsen with Saint Luke’s encourages people with severe flu-like symptoms to go to an urgent care; most can test for flu, RSV, and COVID-19 and get fast results. Other options include area convenient cares, and telemedicine appointments.

For people with symptoms, he strongly recommends taking an at-home COVID-19 test. If that’s negative, he said to assume you have RSV or the flu, and stay home. Manage your symptoms. Rest and stay away from others for several days. If you struggle to breathe, begin to dehydrate from vomiting, or become confused, that’s when it’s time to go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

He also notes the busiest times for emergency departments – in the afternoon, as children get out of school, and people leave work.

PEDIATRIC MEDICINE SHORTAGES

Talk to any parent right now, and they’ll probably have a story about running to the store to find some children’s medication – only to find bare shelves.

There is a nationwide shortage because of the RSV and flu viruses. Both cause headaches, muscle aches, and fever. Both Tylenol and ibuprofen can mitigate the symptoms. The unprecedented flu season is causing shortages of those common medicines. Now, amoxicillin is also on the hard-to-find list.

dr Shawn Sood, a physician in the University of Kansas Health System’s Pediatric ICU, explained why there was a shortage on a drug that does not work with viruses.

“When you have a viral infection, you’re actually predisposed to get a secondary infection,” he said. “So if my child has a virus, the chances of him getting an ear infection, pneumonia, or a urinary tract infection is actually higher. We are seeing an uptick in bacterial infections because more kids are getting viruses.”

Sood said there are other drugs aside from amoxicillin that can treat bacterial infections. Sood also added the amoxicillin shortage is only in the liquid form; it is still available in capsules. To get your young child to take it, sprinkle the capsule’s contents onto your child’s favorite food; he suggests apple sauce or yogurt.

However, Sood did not predict an easy winter for parents. He said he believes this will be a difficult cold and flu season that will last well past the holidays. Already, it’s taxing the hospital’s Pediatric ICU; it’s expanded from six to 10 beds, borrowing from other ICUs on the campus. Sood said that for every bed he has open in the PICU, he gets two calls from a hospital whose child needs it. He said his PICU has had pediatric patients from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Saint Louis, and Iowa already this year.

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