‘The greatest challenge this hospital ever faces’: Christ Hospital losing ground in the war with coronavirus

Taken from NJ.com

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March 25, 2020

Jerry-rigged ventilators. Dwindling supplies of N95s and surgical masks. Buckets of bleach instead of sanitizing wipes.

As Hudson County’s coronavirus outbreak accelerates, flooding hospitals with patients struggling with COVID-19, Christ Hospital staff is warning of critical shortages of equipment.

Dr. Tucker Woods, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said that the hospital had seen a “tidal wave” of patients, and was unsure if it had the capacity or equipment for all of them.

“There’s a lot of unknowns,” he said. “Everybody’s scared. They’re stressed.”

“It definitely is a war zone,” said Maxim Casas, an emergency department nurse at Christ. “It’s controlled chaos.”

Like other hospitals across the country, Christ is running critically low on medical equipment, staff said. Of the hospital’s 13 ventilators, 10 are being used by COVID-19 patients. Dr. Caitlin Jones, the head of Christ’s emergency department, said the hospital’s administration has reached out to other hospitals and surgical centers looking for ventilators, and was even trying to modify other equipment.

“We’re also sort of jerry-rigging our other machines to function as ventilators,” Jones said.

“One week ago, we had quote unquote ‘plenty,’” Woods said. “We could possibly run out today.”

Woods said he was reaching out to city and county officials in hopes of easing the hospital’s shortages. On Wednesday, Mayor Steve Fulop tweeted that he was meeting with local hospitals “to better understand their capacity issues.”

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