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“Feeling Like Death”: inside a Houston hospital ready for a virus spike

Hospitals generally operate with an I.C.U. almost complete and had planned to increase the number of critically ill patients they could treat. But the next morning, the governor issued an executive order that again limited elective surgical operations in Harris County. The order, however, allows hospitals to continue to perform surgeries and procedures that do not reduce their ability to assist coronavirus patients; some hospital executives and doctors, including Methodist, said they were able to continue providing those services, which they considered particularly necessary after being arrested during the initial shutdown. Texas Medical Center hospitals are collectively treating around 1

,500 coronavirus patients, according to data released on Saturday.

During the previous wave in mid-April, the Methodist system had at most just over 200 coronavirus patients. On Sunday, he had nearly 400 patients hospitalized with the virus and around 150 others were tested for it. Some models expect a peak in two to three weeks.

Roberta L. Schwartz, Methodist’s executive vice president and director of innovation, who serves as the commander of the coronavirus incident, walked from unit to unit on Saturday “trolling for beds”, like the he described. He spoke with nurses and doctors, solving problems to solve problems that could delay sending patients home or transferring them to lower levels of care when they were ready. She informed the nurses of an intermediate care unit that she would soon be moving to an I.C.U. for patients with coronavirus.

He visited a huge laboratory with over $ 3 million in new equipment that he termed the “Taj Mahal”, a former academic laboratory that was revived to process virus tests and gave his first look at two recently purchased machines. that 1,000 tests can be performed per day. In some parts of the country, labs, including Methodist’s, have experienced recent test arrears as demand and new cases have increased.

The hospital is hiring traveling nurses to strengthen its staff and offers bonuses as incentives for some employees to take extra shifts. In recent days, hospital beds and laptops have been collected in an empty 34-bed unit that had been closed and will now be used for coronavirus patients. “This is why I don’t have to put trailers in front and mobile hospitals in front,” said Dr. Schwartz. The changes were also part of the hospital’s efforts to maintain the ability to safely treat its many non-viral patients.

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