WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — As we continue to battle against COVID-19, hospitals are struggling to keep up and struggling to find beds.
We’re seeing just that here in Wisconsin.
"Because there's just none available,” said one Fox Valley physician.
For Dr. Brittany Goodrich-Braun who is a family physician and medical director for Partnership Community Health Center, the idea of a COVID-19 patient struggling to get into a hospital bed is a heartbreaking thought, but it's one that she's lived through.
"He was at ThedaCare in New London and they had no beds available. They reached out to Madison and Aspirus Health who also had no beds available. He ended up waiting I think in the E.R. for 13 hours before they were able to find a facility that could even accept him,” said Dr. Goodrich-Braun.
The patient passed away.
"And this is someone who was critically ill, so really needed higher level of care,” said Dr. Goodrich-Braun.
And that's happening all across the state. At Door County Medical Center, doctors are seeing capacity issues as well.
"On average our E.R. has been probably about 30 percent to 40 percent higher, busier than it is this time on a normal year,” said Dr. James Heise, Door County Medical Center Chief Medical Officer.
And because hospitals across the state are facing the same thing, Heise says transferring people to a different hospital can be virtually impossible.
"We typically staff for a certain capacity or certain amount of patients in the hospital being that this is a small rural hospital. We've now been forced to staff up to fill the hospital essentially everyday," Heise said.
And it’s now been a few days since the U.S. Navy hit the ground running to help support Bellin Health in its response to COVID-19.
NBC 26 also spoke with military personnel to check in and see how things have been going.
For one internal medicine doctor he says it’s been nonstop since he started last Thursday.
“It’s been a busy couple of days. I know my second day of work on Friday we had a lot of new admissions to the hospital that my colleague and I were fielding. There was one day last week that the hospital couldn’t accept new people due to staffing and bed shortages,” Said Dr. Michael Roth, U.S. Navy Internal Medicine.
Dr. Roth says he’s glad they could be there and provide that critical help.
Laura Hieb, the Bellin Health Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President also took the time to share more insight on the hospital.
“In our emergency department, we’ve been running at 110-120% of our capacity on a regular basis. And this puts a strain on the rest of the community who are trying to get access to care,” Hieb said.