Arizona Doctor: We are in a crisis. The hospital system will collapse.

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 10:33 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona healthcare workers are imploring hospital leaders and elected officials to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We are in a crisis. The hospital systems will collapse,” said Dr. Ruth Franks Snedecor, with the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix.

Dr. Snedecor joined other healthcare workers for a virtual press conference on Friday, reiterating the demands they set forth in this open letter to state and healthcare leaders.

“I think what we are asking for is a back-up plan. We have burned through all of our back up plans,” Dr. Snedecor said.

Dr. Snedecor and more than 1,100 Arizona healthcare workers want more consistent mitigation measures to help ease the strain on Arizona’s hospitals.

“We have gotten really creative with the resources we had at our availability. We stretched the use of PPE. I don’t think, actually, I know, there’s no more back up plan. This is it. We are at collapse,” Dr. Snedecor said.

The letter, in part, asks hospital systems to adjust and enforce consistent hospital visitation policies, require N95 masks for everyone working in patient care areas and KN95 masking for visitors, provide access to rapid response COVID-19 testing within health care facilities for workers, and enact efforts to stabilize, recruit, train and retain healthcare workforce to improve staffing.

Dr. Snedecor said on Friday morning, she learned two admitting physicians were diagnosed with COVID-19 meaning they had no one to admit patient into the hospital.

Dr. Christina Bergin said she wants elected officials to educate and supply free, high quality masks for community members. She also wants them to, “urgently, increase testing capacity, availability, and accessibility to include mass testing sites.”

In the press conference workers talked about suffering from moral injury and burnout from wave after wave of COVID cases.

“We see scores of patients die without the opportunity to process these traumatic events,” said Dr. Kara Greene.

“We have an opportunity to change course. Inaction by our hospital leaders and lawmakers at this moment during the pandemic will be viewed by the healthcare community as an informed decision to ignore the health and safety of the communities we serve, and an attack on the those sacrificing their health and safety to care for their community,” Dr. Snedecor said.

Click here to read the full open letter and add your name.

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