Yakima, WA - In the last two days, the situation at Yakima Valley Memorial has worsened. The hospital is continuing to face a staffing shortage while seeing an influx of patients.
On Wednesday, the hospital had 49 covid-19 patients. Today, they have 51 patients. That is 25% of the hospital's population. They also have 21 patients waiting for beds in the emergency department, one waiting for a bed in post-surgery recovery and a waiting room full of undiagnosed patients.
As if this weren't enough, 11 employees tested positive for covid-19. With those employees out, the hospital is now short 85 employees.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marty Brueggemann pleaded for help today.
"If there are any nurses out there that have either retired or are not currently working and you would like to assist in this pandemic, we do need help," Dr. Brueggemann said.
He said you can apply online and explain how you believe you would be of aid to the hospital during these difficult times.
The hospital is now in Emergency Command Mode which means they've had to make some difficult decisions so they can move resources where they are most needed.
A few of those changes include cancelling all nonemergency surgeries, cancelling some outpatient services and adjusting others so they can release people from the hospital and free up beds. They have also moved clinical nursing managers to bedside patient care.
Dr. Brueggemann said the hospital is very close to reaching a crisis point, however, the state officially decides when hospitals are in crisis.
If a crisis is declared, resources will have to be rationed.
"It's when you're gonna have to decide 'okay I've only have so much oxygen you, you and you get it... I'm sorry based on your health profile and your likelihood to survive, you're not gonna get it and you're moved to comfort measures,'" Dr. Brueggemann said.
Dr. Brueggemann added that so long as people continue ignoring public health recommendations the situation will only get worse. He asks that people mask up and get vaccine to prevent further spread and further stress on the hospital.