UPDATE 10/23/2014 at 10:18 a.m. Central: A CNBC report confirms what I shared almost two weeks ago. Among other things, the article points out a 21 percent drop in average daily patient occupancy and a 25 percent decrease in surgeries.
UPDATE 10/18/2014 at 5:59 a.m. Central: In an article this morning, ABC News expanded on the news I shared eight days ago.
UPDATE 10/16/2014 at 8:32 a.m. Central: My friend in Dallas tells me he observed a CDC representative at his place of employment (i.e., a major medical center in Dallas) “observing an in-service on one of the ICU units,” a possible indication they could be getting a patient soon. Same person said he’s “heard rumblings from Presby that nurses are threatening to walk out” after “being thrown under the bus” by CDC director and others.
The number of patients seeking care at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas on any given day has nosedived since Thomas Eric Duncan began receiving treatment after contracting the Ebola virus, according to an employee at the hospital. Following his death, many tough questions face this hospital and others as Ebola looms as a nightmarish threat.
Two days ago, I spoke with a friend who works at a major medical center in Dallas, but NOT the hospital — known to locals as “Presby” — where Duncan sought treatment once, was mistakenly sent home, and later returned for before dying days later. My friend told me that a friend of his who DOES work at Presby shared the disturbing news about unwanted side effects of the hospital’s involvement with Ebola.
Specifically, that friend of a friend said the number of patients at Presby receiving care (a.k.a., the “census”) nosedived after news broke about Duncan being treated there for Ebola and, as a result, many employees — including nurses, nurse assistants, housekeepers and others — have had their shifts cancelled due to a shortage of patients.
In other words, people are choosing to go to other hospitals for care.
This morning, I called Presby’s public relations office to inquire about the hospital’s census numbers. Not surprisingly, no one answered and I had to leave a message asking for a return call. I do not anticipate a quick response — or any at all for that matter — as I suspect they have been flooded with media inquiries.
If what this friend of a friend insider claims is true, this news only adds to the hospital’s woes.
According to a Dallas Morning News report Oct. 2, Presby has lagged behind its peers on emergency room care and lost some federal funds the past three years because it had high discharge rates of patients who later had to return for treatment.
It will be interesting to see if, despite its best efforts to educate people about Ebola, Presby can survive. Likewise, it will be interesting to see what happens if it does not survive and other hospitals are forced to deal with Ebola and the fears people have about stepping inside a healthcare environment where Ebola-infected patient(s) have received treatment and/or died.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I will update this article if or when I receive a reply from the PR folks at Presby.
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