Alaskan doctors are distributing life-saving medical care because Covid’s case is clogging the hospital

Joyce Johnson-Albert sees an antibody infusion while lying on the bed in the trauma room of the Upper Tanana Health Center on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 in Tteok, Alaska.

Rick Bowmer | AP

Dr. Jeremy Gitmer of Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage last month realized that there were not enough dialysis machines to treat the floods of Covid patients suffering from kidney damage.

He recalled that an intubated 70-year-old woman who had been on dialysis for 6 days, fighting kidney failure, was unlikely to achieve it.

Gitomer and his medical team have decided to end treatment to release the machine for a 48-year-old man who is also using a ventilator and is likely to recover if he undergoes dialysis. Decided. Both patients eventually died, he said, adding that up to 95% of intubated Covid patients on dialysis could not survive in Alaska.

Gitomer, a nephrologist working at three hospitals in Anchorage’s Alaska Kidney and Hypertension Clinic, said: “I’ve been doing this for 25 years.”

Providence physicians are forced to choose who will live and who will die as the crushing of Covid patients expands the hospital’s limited resources to capacity.

Angie Cleary of the Registered Nurse takes care of Joyce Johnson Albert, who is receiving antibody infusions while lying in bed in the trauma room of the Upper Tanana Health Center in Tteok, Alaska, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. doing.

Rick Bowmer | AP

Backed by a highly contagious Delta variety, Alaska is in the midst of a surge in the summer devastation of the Americas. To ease the burden on the state’s health system, Alaskan authorities launched “Crisis Care Standards” at 20 hospitals on October 2. They may save their lives while refraining from treating others who are unlikely to survive.

Anchorage Hospital, where almost all of the state’s dialysis machines are located, has been forced to refuse the transfer of patients with low survival potential from other state medical centers, Gitmer said. rice field. It doesn’t just put Covid patients at higher risk. Hospitals are currently struggling to treat non-Covid patients with a variety of life-threatening conditions, including cancer, accidental injuries, and organ failure. Patients with brain tumors have longer delays in the emergency room and have a longer ability to obtain an MRI and see a neurosurgeon, doctors say.

The Mat-Su Community Medical Center, located about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage, cannot transfer patients with renal or heart failure to Anchorage as usual. The hospital now needs to keep some of them overnight and “make it well-prepared for the next day’s outpatient dialysis,” said the state’s chief medical officer and doctor in Mat-Su’s emergency room. Said Dr. Anne Zink.

“Instead of one nurse being able to treat 4-5 emergency patients, it’s possible that they’re treating 10 emergency patients,” Zink said. I mentioned Mat-Su, which occupies almost half of the floor. “Patients who have to board the emergency department wait really long.”

Over 1,200 new cases occurred on Wednesday in Alaska, which has managed dozens of Covid cases at any given time throughout most of the outbreaks. According to CNBC data analysis, the average number of new cases for 7 days on September 27 was 1,317. Johns Hopkins University. Alaska is the third least populated state in the country, but as of Wednesday, it currently has the highest number of Covid cases per person, with 120 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Also, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Covid patients are almost twice as crowded as the national average.

Alaska’s vast geography further complicates the state’s ability to combat outbreaks. Medical centers are so dispersed that the average Alaska has to travel about 150 miles one way for medical care, Zink said. The Mat-Su Community Health Center alone serves an area as large as West Virginia.

At the end of last month, the state brought in 400 out-of-state medical personnel to support the surge, Zink said.

The combination of school reopening, snowfall, and people spending more time indoors made Alaska particularly vulnerable to the highly contagious delta mutation this fall, Zink said. She also explained that before the pandemic began, many communities lacked access to water and sewerage and faced a high rate of respiratory illness, increasing the risk of developing Covid.

Dr. Angelique Ramirez, Chief Medical Officer of the Foundation Health Partners at Fairbanks, said: “It’s happening on a daily basis, it’s happening in young people, and it’s happening despite everything we know how to do it.”

Vaccines are becoming more hesitant in Alaska, and monoclonal antibodies have become a popular Covid treatment, Ramirez said. However, Ramirez said Foundation Health was forced to book life-saving treatment only for the most vulnerable patients, as antibody supply declined with the surge.

Harvey Demit, Chairman of the Tanacross Village Council, will walk through the Tanacross Cemetery, Alaska, on Thursday, September 23, 2021. Alaska is experiencing one of the proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the country, coupled with a limited state-wide healthcare system that is almost entirely dependent on Anchorage Hospital.

Rick Bowmer | AP

“When it was scarce, we had the choice to make it,” Ramirez said. “And our choice is at the community level to find out if we’re exhausting everything we had and simply exhausting it, or who is using it and who will benefit most from it and limit it. To those individuals who could choose to decide. ”

According to Ramirez, capacity is declining due to lack of staffing at Foundation Health. She said the hospital postponed non-emergency surgery, discharged patients with pneumonia earlier than usual, and offered home oxygen therapy when they were happy with the recovery, rather than holding the patient until the doctor fully recovered. ..

Ramirez attributed the Fairbanks surge to low vaccination coverage in the region and public resistance to wearing masks. Ramirez said the surge had begun before the school began a year, but said he expected a return to face-to-face learning to exacerbate the outbreak.

Alaska has vaccinated more than 51% of its population against Covid and is ranked 35th.NS As of Wednesday, all states and across Washington, DC, according to the CDC. Charlie Gribbon, a nurse and infection prevention doctor at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, said false information and feelings about the vaccine were major obstacles to immunizing more Alaskans.

“Viruses are difficult pathogens to control,” says Gribbon. “So when we pull out all the stops, we just need everyone to help us whatever they can to avoid spreading the disease.”

CNBC Nate Ratner Contributed to this report.

Alaskan doctors are distributing life-saving medical care because Covid’s case is clogging the hospital

Source link Alaskan doctors are distributing life-saving medical care because Covid’s case is clogging the hospital

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