Valley nurse says pausing elective surgeries will help with ICU bed capacity

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Arizona, hospitals are starting to bust at the seams. A Valley nurse says there's a simple fix to help ease the burden on hospital staff and to make sure all patients get the attention they need.

She says to pause elective surgeries.

New COVID-19 cases in Arizona broke a record Dec. 8 with more than 12,300 cases. ICU bed capacity across the state is down to around 10% and nearly 140 covid patients were put into an ICU bed in the past week.

“It’s sad. We watch patients die on a daily basis," says an ICU nurse on Dec. 8, who’s been treating patients since March. She works in the COVID-19 unit of a Phoenix hospital and wanted to remain anonymous.

She says she’s seeing tough decisions get made daily.

“We’ve doubled up our ICU rooms. There’s two patients to a room when there should only be one. We’ve had to turn patients away, we’ve been on diversion," she explained.

Staffing is a problem at many, if not all hospitals in the state. Tens of millions of dollars were received by Arizona to help with hospital staffing, Gov. Doug Ducey announced.

She has a simple fix to this, saying, “We need an executive order to stop elective surgeries. I know that’s where the hospitals get their money. Doing these non-essential surgeries right now is preventing us from being able to accept patients that are in dire need of hospitalization. The only way that’s going to happen is with an executive order. Hospitals are not making that decision themselves," she said.

For more information on ICU bed capacity, visit this link.