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The Power of the Glave
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How much reserve capacity is there in the U.S. medical system, to handle a pandemic?

From some articles I have read, there appears to be very little "extra capacity" to handle a pandemic like corona virus.

I think most hospitals operate with very few spare beds and rooms. Because any unused hospital bed or other medical asset is a loss financial-wise for a hospital.

I've read that there is--at best--a ten-percent "spare" margin in most hospitals.

So--what happens if such a system is suddenly overwhelmed with hundreds or thousands of desperately ill people?

Do they get treated in the halls? Beds in the parking lot under tents? Gymnasiums? Out in the street?

Can the ambulance services cope with literally thousands of desperate calls for help?

Are there enough medical personnel--even considering that all of them are willing to show-up for work--available, to treat a flood of patients?

And with our obsession with "just in time" inventories, I am wondering how much "spare" capacity our medical centers have in storage. Such things as oxygen tanks, IV apparatus, supportive fluids, etc.

Thoughts? Opinions?




 

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I suppose the problem would be health care workers.

For example, our nearby hospital is a quarter mile from a college.
So for a pandemic the college students could be sent home,
and patients housed in a dormitory. There you have a makeshift hospital,
but without doctors and nurses.
 

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Looks like rain to me.
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What concerns me more is the fact that 80 to 90% of either the drugs or the effective ingredients in the drugs we use every day, are made in China or other countries. We need to bring those critical medical needs back to "Made In The USA"
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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The medical personnel will fall ill with the inadequate paper mask PPE they are using.



And I suppose some may choose not to work at some point given the risk / reward ratio.

Once they get the virus and recover, maybe they will return to work. But by then there will be insufficient supplies or equipment left.


After a lifetime of training and conditioning to depend on the state, you will be left to fend for yourself.

Like a hurricane, that lasts for a year. :)
 

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Isn't it interesting how China and Italy have quarantined millions of people and shut down their economies, all because it's an election year in the US?

To answer the OP's question, when it's a bad flu year and our hospital was running over capacity, yes we would treat patients in the hallways.

We would up privacy screens around a stretcher and lo and behold, an "extra" room.

We would only do this if we were in ER bypass, meaning we didn't allow any ambulances to bring more people in, all ER beds were full, but people were still coming in off the street with issues that needed immediate treatment.
 

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How much reserve capacity is there in the U.S. medical system, to handle a pandemic?

From some articles I have read, there appears to be very little "extra capacity" to handle a pandemic like corona virus.

I think most hospitals operate with very few spare beds and rooms. Because any unused hospital bed or other medical asset is a loss financial-wise for a hospital.

I've read that there is--at best--a ten-percent "spare" margin in most hospitals.

So--what happens if such a system is suddenly overwhelmed with hundreds or thousands of desperately ill people?

Do they get treated in the halls? Beds in the parking lot under tents? Gymnasiums? Out in the street?

Can the ambulance services cope with literally thousands of desperate calls for help?

Are there enough medical personnel--even considering that all of them are willing to show-up for work--available, to treat a flood of patients?

And with our obsession with "just in time" inventories, I am wondering how much "spare" capacity our medical centers have in storage. Such things as oxygen tanks, IV apparatus, supportive fluids, etc.

Thoughts? Opinions?





The hospital industry operates at about 65% capacity.

There's a recent analysis that projects the impact to hospital capacity by COVID19 to reach 100% by May 8th. https://www.zerohedge.com/health/al...rus-patients-about-may-8th-according-analysis

Congress is now considering a $350B appropriation (vs the original $5B) to combat the virus...

If we get LUCKY... we have a very hot summer, and the virus abates as a result... BUT..... I'd expect it to come back in the fall, with a vengeance... just like the 1918 flu did.


We should not forget: COVID19 is more than 2 times as virulent as the Spanish flu was..


IMHO we have a narrow window of TIME to drastically increase healthcare capacity to accommodate what will likely be a huge influx of patients....
 

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The hospital industry operates at about 65% capacity.
In my experience as an EMT...its more like 110%

How much reserve capacity is there in the U.S. medical system, to handle a pandemic?
None. It's already overloaded.
 

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Crazy Cat Lady
Plan to Alamo at home.
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Don't kid yourself, they will deny care to those disabled and elderly... it's the old "preserving the useful" thinking.

I think Italy is doing that already.. if you are old or disabled they don't even take your blood pressure, much less give you oxygen or a bed. And that WILL happen here unless you are a celeb, a politician, related to someone important, or have a lot of $$.

I plan to keep him at home. He will do a lot better with 1:1 care than he will in an overrun ward, assuming they even have one for him.
 

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This virus is unlike any other being a 2 week to a month incubation before symptoms appear. So not knowing it, you could contract the virus and infect a host of other people a long time before you even notice your own symptoms.
 

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Just speaking about our current medical system, and this has NOTHING to do with coronavirus,

We are barely holding on by a thread. Every major ER has beds in every room and up and down the halls with several hour wait times to be seen by a provider.
Emergency medical is being over worked in EVERY municipality of any significant size.
We have too few hospitals and too many specialists in things like dermatology and rhinoplasty because those are the things that play best.
 

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That's called a morgue.
So, how do you get additional health workers?
Being a positive thinker,
I think in an emergency some people who have the training
but are not doing the work could be pressed into service.

For example, the school nurse is ... a nurse~!
The retired doctor is ... a doctor.
There may be things a dentist could do.

I don't know how many could be found that way, but it's an idea
better than collapsing into helplessness.
 

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Thousands are dropping dead each year from “regular” flu and there isn’t all this panic for those fatalities. It’s being blown out of proportion by people who have a political agenda.
Entirely possible, just like the BS lies GW told us to get us to illegally invade Iraq. Not to mention, the "intelligence failure" that allowed 9/11 to happen.

Or the illegal invasions of libya and syria under Obama.
 

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Wannabe Mountain Hermit
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You must not have heard about what's going on over in Italy.
That dr's twitter posts has been posted over in the Chinese Virus thread if you don't believe this.
 
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The school nurse where my wife teaches is a nurse and should know better. Today she told people the Wu Flu virus can survive hanging around in the air for 3 days. Also, it will proliferate with rising temps rather than the normal opposite. I think the junior high science teacher could do a better job.

RR
 

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The short answer is the system will be overwhelmed shortly.

Those who keep comparing this to the flu and saying "gee, no big deal" still don't get it. The numbers for now are likely wrong. That is, there's probably tons of as yet undiagnosed cases - that will turn out mild - that will drastically bring down the current assessment of the mortality rate; which is seemingly really high. But even than, it will still be a higher mortality rate than the plain old flu. And it seems we know enough to realize that the mortality rate curve moves up pretty quickly at 50+ years old. And drastically for more elderly and obviously for anyone already immune system compromised.

So, there's going to be a whole lot of mess. Likely pretty soon. Things might not be as tragic as the full on doomsayers, but it's not like this is no big deal either. It's going to be a much bigger deal and things will get worse before better. Hospitals, etc. will do what they can, but at some point, some healthcare workers will be going down as well. And then it's going to get pretty ugly for awhile.
 
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