NOTE: This is part one of a three-part series highlighting the COVID-19 devices at UW Hospital. Season two will air on Friday, with the third season airing on Sunday night.
MADISON, WIS. – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Wisconsin and hospital admissions hit a record high in Dane County, UW Hospital is expanding the space for critical care.
“Our numbers in Wisconsin are really pretty out of control,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, Director of Quality at UW-Health. “We have a significant number of COVID patients at UW Hospital.”;
Last week, the hospital extended critical care to COVID-19 patients experiencing life-threatening symptoms. This space, designed to be a Neurological Intensive Care Unit, doubles the number of beds available for critical care patients.
“Looking at this unit paints a picture of the anomaly of this,” he said. “This spring, when we were planning to do if things went crazy in Wisconsin and we had more people with COVID than we knew what to do, what would we do? And this was part of that plan. “
Pothof said UW Health plans to expand the available space for severe COVID cases again, if that’s necessary. Although he says it is not ideal and may be the last resort, he says the Hospital may have to use preoperative rooms or even operating rooms to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
“If we continue to see record numbers, if we continue to see an increase in hospitalizations, it will only add to the weight of the dam we are trying to hold,” he said. to manage this, ”he said.
While he says he is trying to remain objectively positive, the number of COVID-19s in Wisconsin continues to tend to be wrong as America enters its first winter in practically Coronavirus.
“We don’t have anything to tell us that things are going to get better, that we are about to get rid of this,” he said. “If there is something, it looks like our curve will continue to move in a fast upward trajectory.”
“We can’t really back down on this idea,” says Pothof, “that since there’s more testing, we have more cases, and that’s the end of the story. “It doesn’t explain hospital admissions. It does not explain deaths ”.
Pothof says that as hospital admissions continue to increase and health workers demand more, the quality of care will ultimately suffer.
“The more demanding we are of our health system, the more we will not achieve good and the more patients we will have with bad outcomes,” he said. “Thought in a country like the United States where we might have to start delivering excellent lower-standard care, or we’d have to start affordable health care, in this country. , it seems completely incomprehensible.
However, Pothof says he is proud of the frontline staff at UW Health, saying they have continued to look for ways to make the situation work while providing quality care. He said that while those health workers have asked the public to wear masks and keep social distance many times, that may eventually lead to interest in others.
“We need to start caring about others a bit more than we have,” he said. “Our neighbors that we know, our neighbors that we don’t know. We need to start thinking about what they might need to stay safe and put their needs ahead of ours. I think if we can do that on a large scale, we can start making a little difference. “
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