Alaska’s largest hospital implements crisis care standards

Sep 14, 2021, 7:19 AM | Updated: 10:05 pm
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer COVI...

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, a syringe containing a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine sits in a container during a vaccine clinic at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 patients, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska’s largest hospital, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing resources and treatments to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most.(Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

(Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 patients, Alaska’s largest hospital on Tuesday implemented crisis standards of care, prioritizing resources and treatments to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most.

“While we are doing our utmost, we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help,” Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, chief of staff at Providence Alaska Medical Center, wrote in a letter addressed to Alaskans and distributed Tuesday.

“The acuity and number of patients now exceeds our resources and our ability to staff beds with skilled caregivers, like nurses and respiratory therapists. We have been forced within our hospital to implement crisis standards of care,” Walkinshaw wrote.

Alaska, like other places, has seen a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant. State health officials said Tuesday there were 691 new cases and six recent deaths, all Anchorage men ranging in age from 50s to 70s. A woman in her 60s from out-of-state also recently died in Juneau, the department said.

Health officials said statewide that there are 202 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are hospitalized, and nine additional patients are under investigation. Officials said 33 of these people are on ventilators.

The percentage of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is 17.5%, the state reported.

At Providence, more than 30% of the adult patients that are hospitalized have tested positive. This also comes at a normally busier time of the year for Alaska hospitals.

Walkinshaw noted that the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, which is routinely updated with numbers related to the virus, “isn’t equipped or designed to demonstrate the intricacies of providing medical care during this unprecedented time.”

At Providence, one of only three hospitals in a city of about 300,000 residents, officials have developed and enacted procedures to ration medical care and treatments, including dialysis and specialized ventilatory support.

The emergency room is overflowing at Providence, and she said patients wait for hours in their cars to see a doctor for emergency care.

Walkinshaw noted that what happens at the Anchorage hospitals affects the entire state since specialty care can often only be provided in the state’s largest city.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to continue to meet this need; we no longer have the staff, the space, or the beds,” Walkinshaw wrote. “Due to this scarcity, we are unable to provide lifesaving care to everyone who needs it.”

That has left patients across the state sitting in local hospitals since Providence can’t accept them for transfer.

“If you or your loved one need specialty care at Providence, such as a cardiologist, trauma surgeon, or a neurosurgeon, we sadly may not have room now. There are no more staffed beds left,” she wrote.

Walkinshaw said they expect an increase in COVID-19 cases in the next two to four weeks, causing an already stressful situation to possibly “rapidly progress to a catastrophe,” she said.

She said the single most important thing people can do is to get vaccinated. Alaska was the first state to open vaccinations to all residents. As of Monday, 56.5% of eligible Alaskans have been vaccinated.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who has recovered from COVID-19 and been vaccinated, said employees at Alaska hospitals are working long hours, some have left their jobs and there are capacity concerns.

Dunleavy, who never imposed a statewide mask mandate, has faced criticism in the past from some who say he hasn’t come out forcefully enough in support of vaccination.

“I urge, and I hope you guys print this, I strongly urge folks to get a vaccine, strongly urge them to do that,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Walkinshaw also asked that everyone wear masks, even if they are vaccinated and avoid unmasked activities. She also urged people who are sick or have been exposed to get tested and asked people to avoid potentially dangers activities and situations that may increase the need for emergency services of medical care.

“Unfortunately, if you are seriously injured, it is possible that there will not be a bed available at our trauma center to save your life,” Walkinshaw wrote.

___

Associated Press journalist Becky Bohrer contributed to this report from Juneau, Alaska.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sanae Takaichi, left, and Seiko Noda, right, both former internal affairs ministers and candidates ...
Associated Press

2 women, political opposites, vying in race for Japan PM

TOKYO (AP) — The inclusion of two women among the four candidates vying to become the next prime minister seems like a big step forward for Japan’s notoriously sexist politics. But their fate is in the hands of a conservative, mostly male governing party — and the leading female candidate has been criticized by observers […]
19 hours ago
This image released by Polk & Co. shows Adrienne Warren in a scene "Tina: The Tina Turner Musical."...
Associated Press

Select list of winners at the Tony Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Select winners at the Tony Awards, presented Sunday night in New York City: Best Book of a Musical: “Jagged Little Pill,” Diablo Cody Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater: “A Christmas Carol,” Christopher Nightingale Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Andrew […]
19 hours ago
LANSING, W.Va. (AP) — A small plane crashed Sunday in southern West Virginia, killing three V...
Associated Press

3 killed in small plane crash in southern West Virginia

LANSING, W.Va. (AP) — A small plane crashed Sunday in southern West Virginia, killing three Virginia residents on board, authorities said. The single-engine Beechcraft C23 went down after taking off from the Fayette Airport in Fayetteville at about 11 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. State police Capt. R.A. Maddy told news […]
19 hours ago
FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., listens to testimony from Washingt...
Associated Press

Liz Cheney: `I was wrong’ in opposing gay marriage in past

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Liz Cheney says she was wrong to oppose gay marriage in the past, a stand that once split her family. Cheney, R-Wyo., a fierce critic of fellow Republican Donald Trump, also tells CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that she views her reelection campaign as the most important House race in the nation […]
19 hours ago
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soldiers found a 43-acre (17.4-hectare) marijuana farm in the nort...
Associated Press

Mexican soldiers discover 43-acre marijuana farm in north

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican soldiers found a 43-acre (17.4-hectare) marijuana farm in the northern border state of Chihuahua, the army said Sunday. The army said the fields were capable of producing about 11 tons (22,000 kilograms) of marijuana. The fields were found in a rural township not far from the town of Creel, in […]
19 hours ago
Adrienne Warren arrives at the 74th annual Tony Awards at Winter Garden Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 26...
Associated Press

Tonys Latest: ‘A Soldier’s Play’ wins for best play revival

The Latest on the Tony Awards (all times local): ___ 9:30 p.m. Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play” has won the Tony Award for best play revival. “A Soldier’s Play” dissects entrenched Black-white racism as well as internal divisions in the Black military community during World War II, wrapping it in a military murder mystery. The […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Alaska’s largest hospital implements crisis care standards