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calendar   Saturday - April 04, 2020

Hospital Ship Empty

Floating Physical Virtue Signaling?

Process Problems And Red Tape Cause Empty Hospital Ship

UPDATE 4/6/20 5pm: NY Governor Cuomo Tweets that President Trump will allow the USNS Comfort to accept COVID-19 patients, adding 1000 beds to the NYC health infrastructure.
I guess you could say the ship is in “re-mission”? nyuk nyuk nyuk.



The USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship that docked in New York Harbor this week as part of a greater effort to relieve hospitals overrun by an influx of coronavirus patients, only had 20 patients aboard as of Thursday evening.

The ship, equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, and 1,200 personnel, has not come close to reaching its capacity, taking on just 20 patients as of Thursday, a Navy spokeswoman confirmed Thursday evening.

“The process continues and we are honestly looking forward to seeing a significant increase in patients being transferred to the Comfort,” Capt. Patrick Amersbach said.

The ship was never intended to take patients with coronavirus. Rather, it is expected to lessen the load on local hospitals battling the virus by taking patients with other illnesses or traumas. However, there are reportedly 49 medical conditions “that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship.”

Some say the bureaucratic tape is preventing the ship from accepting more patients. Officials, for instance, cannot transfer a patient to the vessel until he or she is thoroughly examined at a local hospital, including undergoing a test for the virus, and cleared.

Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy evaluation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship,” according to the Times.

Ok, how to fix this? Idea: set up a couple of tents or Quonset huts on the dock to work as a triage center, and process walk-ins as well. Keep the patient transfer system they have in place, but augment it with a few dozen military ambulances if necessary. It may be a stretch, a fantasy, but I’d extend the triage center to also include something like the Urgent Care offices that are all over the place. Regular doctor’s office for walk-ins, staffed by docs and PAs. And everybody who comes in the door gets one of those 15 minute COVID tests, and then a pack of HCQ and a pack of zinc supplements. People who actually test positive get a Z-Pack too (and a free mask), and the folks with mild symptoms or no symptoms are sent on their way. Maybe severe virus patients get transferred back (or to) a regular hospital. Maybe they need to put up a couple more tents on the dock just for that. My point is that you deal with the medical need you’ve got, and it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

I don’t know what these 49 exempted conditions are. Duh, it’s a good bet the hospital ship isn’t an oncology center. Cancer. But I bet they’ll deliver babies. Come on, theses ships were designed to handle combat casualties. So gunshot victims, blunt force trauma, burns, concussions, etc, are their bailiwick. OTOH, they’ve got doctors and nurses, so see what you can do to extend their care coverage. General illness, asthma, rashes, poisoning. Eye care and dental? I really don’t know what the ships are capable of, but if they can do something close to full service medical care, than that’s what they should do. And it’s free.

But cut the red tape. Don’t thin it out, eliminate it. And cut the fiscal aspect of it too: is there even a tiny chance that hospitals aren’t transferring patients because that would cut their insurance billing? Can’t have that kind of attitude, not right now.

On the third hand, with the city pretty much shut down, shootings, car accidents, and job injuries are way down. I don’t have the numbers for domestic violence or other medical things that happens when everybody stays home all the time. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/04/2020 at 09:07 AM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicineMilitaryPandemic Pandemonium •  
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