Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Faces Hospital Crisis: 85% of Inpatient and ICU Beds Occupied Statewide

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Faces Hospital Crisis: 85% of Inpatient and ICU Beds Occupied Statewide

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) faces a statewide hospital crowding crisis as roughly 85 percent of both Michigan’s inpatient and intensive care unit (ICU) hospital beds were occupied at the time of the state’s latest PPE and Bed Tracking data release.

Of the states 22,745 inpatient hospital beds, 19,233 were occupied, accounting for 84.5 percent of Michigan’s total inpatient beds. The data, released on November 24, shows just 3,512 inpatient hospital beds were available statewide. Moreover, 2,651 of Michigan’s 3,114 ICU beds were occupied, accounting for 85.1 percent of intensive care beds statewide.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, released on November 28, reveals that Whitmer’s state has the second-highest coronavirus case rate in the country over the previous seven-day period. Michigan tallied 388.6 cases per 100,000 people, coming in behind only Minnesota, which had 426 cases per 100,000 people.

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is the president of Spectrum Health, which is western Michigan’s most extensive hospital system, according to the Detroit Free Press. Elmouchi explained that Spectrum typically takes up to 50 patients from smaller hospitals daily, but with the current bed situation, Spectrum has been unable to take in as many patients, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“We’ll get phone calls saying we’re the 15th hospital they’ve called, and can we please help? And very often right now, the answer is no,” Elmouchi explained. “Because we have to take care of those people in front of us before we can take care of people that are coming from a distance. And that’s really heartbreaking, and it’s hard.”

Elmouchi added: 

You could be at a hospital in the U.P. and not have someone to accept you at a bigger, more capable health system right now because of this…You can get in a car accident, you can have a heart attack, and you don’t get the care that you otherwise would have at the right time. Things can be delayed or changed as a result of this. Every health system, every hospital, every doctor across the state is trying to do their best for everybody. But it’s hard to do that when you’re stretched in capacity.

Both St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor and St Joseph Mercy in Livingston are at 100 percent capacity, a spokesperson confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Friday. 

Michigan health officials announced Wednesday that 44 federal military medical staffers are being sent to assist with the state’s fourth coronavirus surge, Breitbart News reported. The federal assistance comes at Whitmer’s request, and two groups of 22 physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists are expected to arrive in the Great Lake State this upcoming week. 

Nick Gilbertson