‘People are going to die’: Hospitals in Half the States are Facing a Massive Staffing Shortage as COVID-19 Surges

November 20, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Recruitment & Volunteers

Last modified November 23, 2020

According to this article from STAT News, hospitals in at least 25 states are critically short of nurses, doctors, and other staff as coronavirus cases surge across the United States. The situation has gotten so bad that in some places, severely ill patients have been transferred hundreds of miles for an available bed — from Texas to Arizona, and from central Missouri to Iowa. And although many of these hospitals have been stockpiling PPE and other necessary equipment for months, it does no good without adequate staffing.

“Care is about more than a room with a hospital bed. It’s about medical professionals taking care of patients,” said John Henderson, chief executive of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH). “If you don’t have the staff to do that, people are going to die.”

Staffing shortages are a serious concern in multiple regions. Intensive care unit nurses, who typically oversee no more than two patients at a time, are now being pushed to care for six to eight patients to make up for the shortfall. The shortages are mainly caused by overwhelming numbers of patients as coronavirus spreads, combined with decreasing staff levels as nurses and doctors themselves fall sick or have to quarantine after being exposed to infected people.

What most worries hospital officials is that COVID-19 has not yet reached its peak. “What I’m scared of, leading up to the holidays, is what’s going to happen immediately after Thanksgiving,” said Hancock, a Texas emergency physician. “Then everyone gets into a crisis situation and there’s nobody who can go help.”

Share this

Related Articles

                              Leave a Comment