Detroit's Sinai-Grace Hospital draws CDC attention for high death count

April 10, 2020, 7:41 AM

The Detroit News details the "war zone" that is Detroit Medical Center's Sinai-Grace Hospital in a new report, after CNN found the facility so overwhelmed patients were dying in its halls.

Conditions at the hospital are so dire they've drawn the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accoring to the News, DMC's chief medical officer told staff the CDC held a teleconference with administrators last week because it said Sinai-Grace had one of the highest Covid-19 mortality rates among hospitals in the nation.

Sinai-Grace, northwest Detroit's only hospital, is surrounded by nursing homes.

Nurses staged a sit-in to protest poor working conditions over the weekend, then were sent home by administration. Another nurse was fired two weeks ago for speaking out about staffing shortages and poor conditions on social media.

At issue is a lack of staff to deal with the high-risk patients flooding the hospital, employees tell The News:

Sal Hadwan, an emergency room attendant who was asked to leave, told The News the department has been getting 110 to 120 coronavirus patients daily for the past three weeks. He said staffing levels are inadequate.

"They need oxygen, ventilators and multiple medications drips just to keep them alive and stable," said Hadwan, a DMC nurse three years. "It’s unsafe for patients to have one nurse tending to 25 or more patients. It's unrealistic and dangerous to try to keep up."

... People are dying who honestly shouldn’t be in those situations if only we had enough nurses to help," [he later added.]

[Jeff Eichenlaub, a weekend day-shift emergency room nurse for the past six years] said he expected an internal disaster order to be declared so leaders could come in, help move patients around and organize logistics. It never happened — perhaps because the unit does not have a program director, he said.

"It’s almost like a military hospital, people are gasping for their last breath, and you just move on taking care of someone else who is deemed more critical," he said.

According to The News, hospital system is now reportedly contracting with staffing agencies and reaching out to nursing students for help. It would not discuss the death rate or staffing shortages with the paper.

A DMC spokesman did note the hospital serves a patient population with "extremely high rates" of Covid-19 risk factors like hypertension and diabetes. He added that patients coming from the dozen or so surrounding nursing homes tend to be sicker and require more resources. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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