Since the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has hit the United States, hospitals around the country are under extreme pressure, and now the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released a new report revealing that hospitals just weren't ready.
The new report was released after an investigation was conducted by the OIG at 323 hospitals around the country between the dates of March 23rd and March 27th. The investigation revealed all of the holes in the medical system that are now under extreme pressure from the massive influx of coronavirus patients. The investigation found that hospitals faced severe shortages of testing supplies, ventilators, and protective equipment.
Hospitals also told the OIG that they don't have the supplies they need to conduct tests and that when a test is conducted, it can take days to get back. While the patient is waiting at the hospital for their test results to get back, they are being treated as if they have the virus. This means healthcare workers that interact with the patient need to be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). The longer the test results take to return to healthcare workers, the more PPE is used. One administrator discussed the overuse to PPE:
"The testing turnaround presents a challenge, especially for our 'rule-out' patients ... we have to use a lot of PPE on those rule-outs. And especially when it's a negative, we basically used all that PPE for nothing".
Many patients who are waiting for test results are also filling up beds unnecessarily. This is no fault of patients, but instead, it's the fault of the hospital system not being prepared for a massive influx of potential patients.
If you are interested in reading the full report, a link can be found here.
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