Get an inside look at one Kansas City area hospital as COVID patients stress staff to max

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Dr. Kenneth Marshall said, normally, people don’t doubt that doctors are trying to help, but now there’s a peculiar disconnect.

But doctors at the University of Kansas Health System want to bridge that disconnect and take you through their emergency room doors. Check out the video player above to see what it’s like inside without being in a hospital bed.

“You’re running between heart attacks, strokes, major traumas,” said Marshall, who runs KU Hospital’s emergency department.

Marshall said three years ago, they were always busy, but it’s reached a new level.

“We’re just trying to see people wherever we can,” he said.

Sometimes that includes caring for patients in the hallway.

“We have less nurses to work with, less staffing to work with, but yet we’ve got an extra load of COVID patients,” Marshall said.

On top of the usual emergency cases, they get 20-30 COVID patients — per day.

“It can be very physically, emotionally and mentally stressing for the staff,” supervising nurse Tiffany Clark said.

Doctors warn this pandemic isn’t over. KU Health System said last year in September, 17 people died of COVID-19. This year, it jumped to 51. Since the pandemic started, 543 patients at KU Hospital have died of COVID-19.

“When it comes down to it, you’re seeing patients that really don’t need to be in the hospital because if they had gotten vaccinated, they wouldn’t be all of a sudden on oxygen needing to be admitted,” Marshall said.

He urges people who are able to get vaccinated and wear a mask.

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