Medical workers at a Detroit hospital have described being at a breaking point during the coronavirus pandemic as they manage a flood of patients and scramble for resources. About five patients have died from the virus during each 12-hour shift at Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace and there aren’t always enough body bags or refrigerators for them, ER nurse Jeff Eichenlaub told The Detroit News. Patients are dying in hallways, bodies are even being stored in the sleep lab because all the morgues and refrigerated storage areas are full, and staff are sometimes too busy to let relatives know that a family member has died, he said. “Walking into work last Thursday, it was a war zone, there were patients lying everywhere,” he said. Another ER worker told the newspaper they were getting 110 to 120 coronavirus patients daily and didn’t have enough staff to deal with them.
Hospital officials had a conference call with the CDC last week due to concerns that Sinai-Grace had the highest COVID-19 mortality rate among hospitals in the nation, staff were told Wednesday. Detroit has at least 6,083 confirmed coronavirus cases and 272 deaths. A DMC spokesman said there were a large number of nursing homes in the area surrounding the hospital and the spread of coronavirus among the elderly “places even more pressure on hospital resources as those patients are sicker and in many cases require ICU-level of care.”