Dr. Colleen Smith, who works at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York gave an in-depth look at the current state of the hospital and the lack of supplies they have to combat coronavirus. She said that the hospital once saw 200 patients on an average day but they are now seeing over 400 patients a day during this world health crisis documented in a New York Times video. The hospital is often promised more supplies so that they can protect themselves as well as treat patients, but she says they are false promises.
New York Hospitals Scrambling For More Ventilators To Help Infected Patients
Dr. Smith mentions right away that the hospital does not have enough ventilators to treat all of the infected patients they have. She even walks through a room with infected patients laying in all of the beds. They also began using CPAP machines to help people breathe and are hoping that the transition to CPAP’s will free up some ventilators for those that desperately need them. Elmhurst hospital received a shipment of ventilators from another hospital a few hours after Dr.Smith made the comment. It was the third emergency re-supply in a week. But it seems like five extra ventilators is still not enough.
Unless people die and free up some ventilators, she believes they will have to beg other hospitals for ventilators again. The heads of the hospitals are saying everything is fine but from the perspective of the hospital workers, they feel that they do not have the support or materials they need to take care of patients.
Elmhurst Hospital Has Become The Epicenter Of The Crisis
Queens counts for nearly a third of all COVID-19 cases in the city. People have been lining up outside of Elmhurst Hospital every single day waiting to get tested. Dr. Smith mentioned that the hospital set up a tent outside to test patients with mild symptoms but it has not relieved any of the stress or craziness inside. People start lining up early in the morning wearing masks.
She said that at first, the doctors were trying to isolate patients who were experiencing cough and fever. They then found that patients that came in with abdominal pains had x-rays that showed signs that were consistent with COVID-19. Dr.Smith notes that if a person comes in after a car accident, sometimes their CT scan shows that their lungs look like the patient may have coronavirus.
Doctors And Nurses Health At-Risk After Seeing So Many Infected Patients
It is also hard for doctors and nurses to get tested even when they are exposed over and over again to the virus. They do not have the protective equipment that they should have. Dr.Smith wears the same face mask all day and even wears the same mask more than one day a week. The staff is always worried that they will run out of masks.
FEMA is expected to bring more supplies, however, Dr.Smith said: “There have been a lot of promises that have yet to materialize.” She knows that if the rapid spread of the virus keeps going on for months and months, the strain on doctors will be even worse, especially if they do not have the materials they need.
She made it clear that she does not care if she gets in trouble for speaking with the media. She wanted to shed light on the severity of this virus and how hard it has been for doctors who have such a huge responsibility of treating people with so few materials.