CHI Mercy Medical Center is postponing some surgeries because its strained resources are being stretched by a “high volume of infected unvaccinated patients being admitted to the hospital for intensive treatment.”
“The current projections are deeply concerning,” the hospital said in a statement. “In the absence of wise and decisive action, Mercy will experience a more than doubling of her current COVID patient load by mid-September. Such a scenario would overwhelm our capacity and paralyze our ability to provide all types of care.”
Currently, the hospital has 43 total COVID patients spread across multiple units, with 11 being managed in intensive care. Eight are being “actively sustained by invasive mechanical airway support.”
If the local COVID surge doesn’t slow, the hospital said it will be pushed beyond its normal operating standards and be “forced to make difficult triaging and allocation decisions.”
“In practical terms, if the trend does not improve, the Life Care Team might be confronted with the painful task of prioritizing treatment, according to who would medically benefit the most from the care being provided,” the hospital said in a statement. “This would be predicated on recognized, evidenced-based guidelines.”
More immediately, the hospital is postponing some surgical procedures that aren’t urgent, the hospital said.
“For instance, if an elective procedure has a high probability of requiring post-surgical bed use and hospitalization then it won’t be scheduled or performed,” the hospital said.
The Douglas County Commissioners released a statement after Mercy announced the change.
“The Douglas County Board of Commissioners would like to express their continued support and appreciation to CHI Mercy Medical Center and all of their staff for the incredible job they have done in caring for the medical needs of our community during the current health care crisis,” the statement said. “We encourage everyone to join us in supporting their efforts and in working together, so we can prevent any additional unnecessary interruptions to the medical needs of our community in the coming days and weeks.”
In the past two weeks, Douglas County has seen 1,100 new cases — a fifth of the total cases in the area, according to data provided by the Douglas County COVID-19 Recovery Team. Daily totals, now routinely appearing in the triple-digits, are dwarfing those seen in the early days of the pandemic, and hospitalizations have doubled.
More than 85% of those hospitalized were not vaccinated, according to the county, and the number of vaccinated individuals still remains low, with just a touch more than 57% of the county receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.