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Stateside Podcast: Michigan hospitals in crisis

An ambulance crew weaves a gurney through the halls of Sparrow's Emergency Department. Overcrowding has forced the staff to triage patients, putting some in the waiting rooms and treating others on stretchers and chairs in the halls.
Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio
An ambulance crew weaves a gurney through the halls of Sparrow's Emergency Department in early October. Overcrowding forced the staff to triage patients, putting some in the waiting rooms and treating others on stretchers and chairs in the halls. Other hospitals, including Mercy Health St. Mary's in Grand Rapids, are now seeing similar capacity issues.

If you know anyone who works at a hospital, you probably already know what terrible season this has been for health care workers. Between rising cases of COVID-19 and the normal spike in seasonal illnesses like the flu, many Michigan hospitals are in crisis mode. Emergency rooms and intensive care units are packed with patients who need ventilators and oxygen tanks. Surgeries are being postponed and hospitals are shifting staff from other departments to help handle the load.

A tour of Mercy Health Saint Mary's as the hospital is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

While cases of COVID appear to be falling in the state, the caseloads aren’t yet falling at hospitals. And now, we’re heading into a holiday season that will bring a lot of intermingling with friends and family, and a new variant—omicron—has shown up in Kent County. Michigan Radio’s Dustin Dwyer has been covering the story from West Michigan, and talked to us about what he saw on a visit to the COVID ward of Mercy Health Saint Mary's in Grand Rapids.

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Stateside’s theme music is by 14KT.

Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

April Van Buren
April Van Buren is a producer for Stateside. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.