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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – Childress Regional Medical Center (CRMC) Chief Operating Officer and RN Holly Holcomb wants the public to understand the near worst-case scenarios happening at the hospital.
“We are overwhelmed,” said Holcomb. “It’s not like anything we’ve experienced before. I wish I knew a magical answer.”
That’s why Holcomb took to Facebook last week to give a public announcement to educate Childress residents on what they need to know to take care of their families. Holcomb said CRMC takes care of sick people every day. But they don’t have the equipment for specialty, high-risk patients.
“Up to a month or so ago, it (transferring patients to larger hospitals) was a normal process,” she explained. “That came to a screeching halt, calling 27 hospitals in four states to get a patient transferred.”
She wants the public to know the next time they’re in the ER could be different from the past.
“We wanted to set the expectation of what could be hard conversations if they find themselves in the ER and need to be transferred,” Holcomb said. “The whole state is in this predicament. It’s a pandemic, and all of the hospitals are full. It all goes back to we have to take better care of ourselves.”
In her video, Holcomb said larger hospitals with specialty care throughout Texas are full, including their ICUs. CRMC has open beds, but it does not have an ICU. The CRMC medical staff made the decision they cannot safely intubate someone to place him or her on a ventilator if an ICU bed has not been secured prior to the intubation.
CRMC might not be able to transfer patients if they need a higher level of care, but they will do everything for patients within their scope and resources, she added in her video. There is a state waiting list system for hospital beds, but they have not been notified of an open bed yet.
Holcomb explained that CRMC has spent a significant amount of time and dollars in COVID preparation, planning, equipment and testing. Overall, it has been greatly successful for the majority of the population, and she can’t imagine where they would be without the drive thru clinic and rapid COVID testing.
However, she said for the sickest patients who need to be transferred to a higher level of care, local resources are not enough. Holcomb said they talked publicly about transfer problems about a month ago, but now it is at a severe level.
CRMC has three recommendations:
- Take the COVID pandemic seriously. People and families are hurting.
- The medical staff verbalized their greatest concern for highest risk of complications and transfers would be persons 65 years of age and older. This population needs to be alert and take notice.
- “Do your part” – masks are mandatory, social distancing, hand washing, avoid large gatherings, stay home when sick and keep children home if sick.
“If we simply come together and improve our compliance with the governor’s orders for masks and social distancing, we will make progress,” Holcomb said.