- Alaska is facing COVID-19 hospitalizations, forcing doctors to make tough decisions about who gets treatment and who doesn’t
- In Anchorage, the state’s most populous city, less than 10% of hospital beds are available.
- State officials activate a ‘crisis of standard care’ to allow doctors to ration treatment and stop treating people with little chance of survival
- The state is reporting nearly 900 new cases a day, and 862 or every 100,000 residents tested positive for the virus in the past week, the most of any state in the US to have tested positive for the virus.
Doctors in Alaska are currently being forced to ration potentially life-saving care for COVID-19 patients in the wake of a massive surge in the state.
Currently, more than 200 people are hospitalized with the virus in the state, with cases and deaths steadily increasing in recent times as well.
Employees of Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska reported CNBC They are facing a shortage of equipment to treat the visiting patients.
This is leading them to make difficult choices about which patients will receive critical treatment, and which will not – knowing that patients who do not receive treatment are likely to die.
Doctors are forced to ration care at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska (pictured) as the state faces an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations
COVID-19 cases in Alaska have increased nearly 50% over the past month, from about 600 cases per day in mid-September to nearly 900 per day in mid-October.
Dr Jeremy Gitomer, a nephrologist who worked at the hospital for 25 years, told CNBC: ‘It’s terrifying that I’m living through this because I’ve never seen more people die in my career.
He told of a particular story in which a 70-year-old woman, who was on a dialysis machine for six days, had to cut her treatment so that the machine could be used on a 48-year-old man with a higher chance of survival. .
Unfortunately, both patients died, just like 95 per cent of the other COVID-19 patients receiving dialysis treatment while hospitalized due to the virus.
State health officials activated the ‘crisis of standard care’ on October 2, giving doctors the legal protection they need to make these kinds of decisions.
Gitomer told CNBC that the hospital is now rejecting the transfer of patients from other health care facilities who are less likely to survive, because they cannot treat everyone because of a lack of resources.
By far the state’s largest city, Anchorage, has less than 10% of the total hospital beds available. More than 200 people have been hospitalized with the virus across the state, and Alaska currently has the highest new case rate in the country, with 862 of the 100,000 residents who tested positive for the virus in the past week . Pictured: A COVID-19 patient receives a case in a Tok, Alaska, hospital on September 22
In Anchorage, the city where nearly half of Alaskans live, only six of the 71 ICU beds are vacant — or eight percent — and 26 of the total 509 hospital beds are available — just over five percent.
This is causing problems in other hospitals in Anchorage as well.
Mat-su Regional Medical Center, located 40 miles northeast of Anchorage, is experiencing problems with the facility unable to transfer patients as usual.
Patients with kidney and heart failure were usually transferred to Providence when they arrived in Mat-su, but now have to live in a less resourceful, shorter hospital.
This has created a stir in the hospital that doctors are finding it difficult to treat.
Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer who works at the Matt-Su ER, told CNBC, “Instead of one nurse being able to care for four or five emergency department patients, they care for ten emergency department patients. can do.”
‘Patients have to wait a really extended period of time to board the emergency department.’
The state imported 400 medical professionals last month to deal with such situations.
However, this is not enough, as hospitals lack the necessary personnel to deal with this surge of patients.
Alaska is currently recording the highest rate of COVID-19 cases of any state in the US, with 826 for every 100,000 people who tested positive for the virus in the past seven days.
More than 1,200 Covid cases were reported by the state on Monday, and the state is recording only 900 cases per day – a nearly 50 per cent increase from a month ago – though the average deaths still remain in the single digits.
Experts point to the end of summer as the reason for the increase in cases.
Alaska is cooler than the rest of the US, with daily temperatures in the mid-40s high this week, while Seattle in the northwest corner of the mainland this week compared highs in the 50s and 60s In.
This has prompted many residents to spend more time indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
Zink told CNBC that some communities, especially those that do not have access to running water or sewer systems, are already at risk for respiratory disease.