KC hospitals face shortages of morgue space, treatments and ventilators

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Doctors from around the Kansas City area are alerting the public to new shortages in their battle to fight COVID-19.

In addition to fewer health care workers in the hospitals, doctors said they now face shortages of morgue space, monoclonal antibody treatments and ventilators needed to treat critically ill patients.

A federal national Disaster Medical Assistance Team is now working at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. But that additional staff simply is replacing hospital workers who are out sick.

“We had hoped that we would be able to open up additional beds with that team arriving, but unfortunately, because of the number of employee callouts, really they have just substituted for employees who have had to call out for COVID or other illnesses,” said Dr. Kim Megow, chief medical officer of HCA Health Midwest.

Doctors at Advent Shawnee Mission Medical Center have become concerned about morgue capacity, running out of space to put bodies of patients who’ve died.

The hospital also said it’s also running out of monoclonal antibody treatments that work against the omicron variant, with no new supplies expected soon.

“We basically have to evaluate what our inventory is day-by-day,” said Dr. Lisa Hays, chief medical officer at Advent Health Shawnee Mission. “It doesn’t appear we will receive any new inventory in the coming days.”

Liberty Hospital said it’s using its last two doses of monoclonal antibodies Wednesday, and high oxygen output ventilators have been in short supply.

Hays said Advent Health managed to procure seven additional machines this week.

And Liberty Hospital said it just received five additional ventilators from the state’s strategic stockpile.

“Yesterday, we had business office people in the hospital making beds when the patients were out,” said Dr. Raghu Adiga, chief medical officer at Liberty Hospital. “So this is all hands on deck — an all-hands on deck time.

“Unfortunately, this is the situation everywhere in the city right now. This is not a time to slip and fall.”

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