Health | Michigan Radio


university of michigan hospital
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan's health system, will lay off and furlough about 1,400 full-time employees.

The job cuts are part of a plan, announced today by Michigan Medicine, to address a financial loss of up to $230 million projected for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2020. The health system expects the losses to continue into the 2021 fiscal year.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Beaumont Hospital researchers are hoping that two common drugs can help treat COVID-19 patients.

The drugs are naltrexone and ketamine. Naltrexone is used to treat inflammatory pain conditions and addiction. Ketamine is an anesthetic that also has anti-inflammatory properties.


A new University of Michigan study finds teens are drawn to vaping products even though they're aware of the health risks. Teens expressed a ‘desire to fit in,' 'getting a buzz,’ and ‘experimentation' as reasons for vaping.

Researchers asked more than a thousand teenagers about using vaping products, particularly Juul products which are the most popular on the market.

ER visits plummet amid pandemic: 'More people are dying at home'

May 4, 2020
beaumont hospital royal oak exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

When COVID-19 first hit metro Detroit, hospitals urged sick people to stay away.

Now they're saying come back because the original message, compounded with fears, came with a cost:

Heart attack victims died at home. Stroke patients let symptoms go unchecked for too long. Fractures from falls were left untreated and worsened.

operating room with doctors
Courtesy Photo

By 7:30 Monday morning, Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund had scrubbed in for surgery for the first time since March 16.

A spine surgeon at Beaumont Health’s Royal Oak hospital, Fischgrund spent the next hour or so repairing the patient’s ruptured disc. In March, the disc caused tolerable discomfort, but over the next six weeks it had worsened, the surgeon said, to excruciating pain so bad that it would necessitate potentially addictive opioids.

The patient’s wrists were weakening, too, a result of compressed nerves.

The state of Michigan is modifying rules for how hospitals and funeral homes handle human remains in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, the state just required hospitals and funeral homes make a “reasonable effort” to contact family members before turning to the local medical examiner to decide what to do with the remains.

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we hear how health systems, armed with what they now know about COVID-19, are planning for the treatment of future cases. Also, a look at how Michigan’s theaters are staying connected to audiences that can’t come to shows. Plus, college seniors fill us in on what it’s like to graduate—and enter the job market—during a pandemic.


The TCF Regional Care Center in downtown Detroit is down to its final seven patients. 


According to Michelle Grinnell, a spokesperson for the facility, the field hospital stopped admitting new patients last week after health officials and hospital leadership noted “health data improvements” and a “reduction in hospital surge capacity overload” across Michigan. 


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Starting Monday, Michigan National Guard medical personnel will visit the six prisons in the Upper Peninsula to help the Michigan Department of Corrections conduct mass testing of the inmates.

The receiving area of butterworth hospital
Spectrum Health

A law firm in Grand Rapids says more than 1,000 doctors at the area’s largest hospital are being forced to sign new contracts, or face salary cuts.

Beaumont hospital in Wayne to reopen as surge never came

May 1, 2020
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Several Downriver communities are in for some medical relief as Beaumont Hospital in Wayne is scheduled to reopen, possibly as early as Monday, after being temporarily sidelined amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to multiple sources. 

nurse holding patient's hand
ake1150 / Adobe Stock

Hospitals in metro Detroit have seen an avalanche of desperately ill patients over the past several weeks. There are still many people sick with COVID-19 in ERs and ICUs — but things have calmed down a little. We wanted to know what front-line health care workers are thinking about what they’ve seen.

This essay comes from an ER nurse, and was voiced by an actor. To protect the healthcare worker's job, we are not using their name.

With weeks to plan, Grand Rapids learns from Detroit’s coronavirus surge

Apr 29, 2020
Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Flickr

If the coronavirus infection is war, then West Michigan appears to have gained a tactical edge by taking notes as hospitals in Detroit and Chicago waged the first battles with COVID-19.

Since Friday, Kent County recorded 580 confirmed cases, more than suburban Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties over this period; surpassed only by Detroit, which had 640. On Tuesday, Kent, which includes Grand Rapids, reported 205 new cases, before dropping down to 90 on Wednesday.

francistoms / flickr

The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association is calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to loosen restrictions on non-agricultural veterinary practices as she develops plans to open up the state's economy.

In a letter sent Monday, the group requested that Whitmer allow veterinarians to begin conducting sterilization procedures as soon as possible.


More than 2,800 of Michigan’s nursing-home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

Two weeks ago the state issued new rules for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities intended to curb the spread of the virus through these vulnerable communities. As of Wednesday, the median age of those who had died from the disease was 76. 


dr. scott kaatz in hospital bed
Henry Ford Health System

Six days ago, Henry Ford Health doctor Scott Kaatz was on a ventilator, clinging to life.

The 62-year-old physician had COVID-19, a virus that had ravaged his lungs, but not his will.

Dr. Kaatz, who took care of some of the first coronavirus patients in metro Detroit, went home on Sunday after a nearly one-month battle with a virus that was treated using experimental medical therapies. Among them: convalescent plasma, the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the infection.

 Efren Paredes Jr. with his wife Maria Zavala and their 10-year old daughter.
Courtesy of Maria Zavala

Physical distancing is essential to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. But in prison, it's nearly impossible. That's left inmates like Efren Paredes Jr. afraid for their health and safety. Paredes is one of nearly 1,400 men incarcerated at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater. More than half of them have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Coronavirus takes heavy toll on Michigan health care workers, causing dozen-plus deaths

Apr 27, 2020
File photo

Health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic are paying with their own lives — and their employers are often reluctant to disclose these deaths.

A Free Press investigation finds that the coronavirus is the suspected cause of death in Michigan for at least 16 people who worked in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes and health insurance — more than the six workers their employers have previously acknowledged. A union official confirmed a seventh.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The number of Michiganders who have officially “recovered” from COVID-19 has more than doubled in the past week

State health official released data Saturday showing the number of recovered cases has risen to 8,342.  The state listed 3,237 “recovered” cases last Saturday and 433 two weeks ago.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of inmates at one of Michigan’s prisons have tested positive for COVID-19. The number is expected to rise.

The Michigan Department of Corrections confirms more than 600 prisoners have tested positive at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater. In an email, spokesman Chris Gautz indicated not all results are in and the number will grow.


Nearly 2,200 nursing home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data released by the state for the first time today

In a press conference Friday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, said there are 2,198 confirmed cases in nursing homes, the vast majority (75%) of which are in southeast Michigan. Out of the state’s 458 facilities, only two-thirds have submitted data. 

From body bags to staffing woes and furloughs, DMC CEO details coronavirus response

Apr 24, 2020
DMC campus detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Medical Center's CEO Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., spoke to the Detroit Free Press on Thursday about how the health system — which operates eight hospitals in some of the Detroit neighborhoods hardest-hit in the coronavirus outbreak — has managed in the pandemic.

Gregory, who took over leadership at the DMC in January, has had a trial by fire in her first few months on the job.

Brad Gowland | Michigan Radio

The single biggest need in the parts of Detroit that have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus is food. That's according to data available in a recently released COVID-19 Dashboard put together by Michigan 211.

Emergency room hospital

You can now look up the number of COVID-19 patients at a particular hospital or health system, as well as the total capacity of beds being used, and the number of days of personal protective equipment left on hand.

Retired surgeon Dr. Robert Bartlett
Courtesy of Michigan Medicine

In the fight to save lives against the coronavirus, Michigan doctors are turning to a last-resort machine — one that offers hope when a ventilator isn’t enough.

“It doesn’t treat the patient, but it buys time,” said Dr. Robert Bartlett, a retired University of Michigan surgeon and researcher who helped pioneer the technology.

Detroit’s Henry Ford joins coronavirus red ink, furloughs 2,800 workers

Apr 22, 2020
Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Henry Ford Health System Wednesday became the latest Michigan hospital system to announce deep staff cuts as a way to balance its budget against what it called the “devastating impact” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 2,800 employees are being temporarily furloughed across the Detroit-based, six-hospital system. The employees are from areas that have closed or where services have dwindled and are not involved in direct patient care, according to a Wednesday evening news announcement.

Why Michigan hospitals are laying off workers as they battle coronavirus

Apr 22, 2020
beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The coronavirus pandemic has tanked large sectors of Michigan’s economy, leaving more than a million people jobless, including workers in restaurants, entertainment, travel and government.

Across parts of the country, healthcare systems have seen their staff, equipment and physical space stretched beyond capacity to care for an influx of COVID-19 patients. Some have called on retired doctors and reassigned doctors and nurses from other specialties to help with the surge.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Health Division wants to know more about a temporary morgue Beaumont Health has put in place at its closed hospital in Wayne. 

The county got complaints that dead bodies were being improperly stored in a warehouse at Beaumont’s shuttered Wayne hospital. Inspectors were first turned away by Beaumont because they didn’t have a warrant. Later Beaumont did allow inspectors in the building, but not into the morgue area because no personal protective equipment was available.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Beaumont Health’s hospital in Wayne is currently closed. John Fox is Beaumont’s CEO. He says the closure is temporary.

It had been converted to take COVID-19 patients only. Since it appears the pandemic is leveling off, all the patients and staff were sent to other hospitals.

“So, we did not need the Wayne 200 beds for that. And we’re now have it being sanitized and we’ll be on the process of converting it back,” Fox said during an online news conference.

Community Mental Health advocates offer support line

Apr 22, 2020
Adobe Stock

There’s a new mental health resource in mid-Michigan to help people cope with stress brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, or CEI, has set up a telephone support line staffed with counselors who can talk with callers about personal issues.