Michigan ER doc describes life inside rural hospital, says unvaccinated patients are filling beds

hospital mental health
Posted at 11:08 AM, Dec 08, 2021

(WXYZ) — A West Michigan doctor penned an op-ed for the New York Times this week, describing the surge in hospitalizations from COVID-19 across the state.

Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency physician at a hospital in rural West Michigan, wrote the op-ed titled, "I'm an E.R. Doctor in Michigan, where unvaccinated people are filling hospital beds."

In the article, he talks about taking care of patients coming into the hospital. In one instance, he describes a "young patient" who came into the hospital and said goodbye to his spouse and infant before he was sedated. Davidson said he died before the end of the week and was unvaccinated.

The state is continuing to see a fourth surge in COVID-19 cases and breaking records for hospitalizations.

As of Monday, the state had more than 4,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than 1,000 people in the ICU. According to the state, there are 618 people who are hospitalized and on a ventilator with COVID-19.

"On some shifts, the stress in the air is palpable. My colleagues and I know the patients are piling up, but there just are not enough nurses to properly triage everyone," Davidson wrote.

He also talked about the unvaccinated population in Michigan, which ranks 26th in the nation, just below the national average, and how the choice to be unvaccinated is forcing patients with other problems to wait hours in the emergency department.

"Given that only about 62 percent of Michigan residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, lagging behind the national rate by about nine points, I fear we won’t see an end to the tide of sick people anytime soon, and hospitals can absorb only so many surges," he wrote.

Three Michigan hospitals are now getting federal help to deal with the influx of patients, but that number could grow.

There are about 22 Department of Defense personnel at Beaumont in Dearborn. They arrived this week to help balance the massive load of patients – about 600 with COVID-19, with about 80% of those patients unvaccinated, according to the hospital.

Covenant Healthcare in Saginaw is the latest hospital to get additional help from the DOD.

The DOD team consists of people with different specialties, including doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. They'll be at Beaumont Dearborn for 30 days.

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