ST. LOUIS – In less than two weeks, it looks like adult patients will be treated at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
At present, there are about 100 coronavirus patients at all SSM hospitals in the St. Louis area; none in Cardinal Glennon.
Video taken by SLU Hospital employees on the ICU floor—where coronavirus patients are treated—shows it’s a time when nurses and doctors have to wear different protective clothing depending on who they are caring for.
“It’s definitely a different feeling,” said Kathy Donovan, SSM Cardinal Glennon Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer. “You’re not used to walking around the hospital and seeing everyone in a mask and kind of on guard and that’s the case.”
Cardinal Glennon is now helping SLU prepare for a potential overflow of patients.
“We’re working with SLU right now to figure out which case we can offload from them and move over to Cardinal Glennon,” Donovan said.
Children and adults at Cardinal Glennon will be treated on different floors, and they plan to accept non-critical adults. For example: adults with broken legs or appendicitis.
SSM employees are screened for the virus before the can enter the hospital and go to work. And yes, they’ve discovered workers who were infected and addressed others who had questionable symptoms.
“So, they are turned away and they go to their car and they call our occupational health team and then they get a deeper screen,” Donovan said. “Is this allergies? Is this part of your regular health?”
They believe they have enough masks and other medical equipment but say they are following CDC guidelines and plan to extend the use of equipment.
“We’re going to use UV light technology to what I refer to as zapping the mask and then (the mask) can be reused up to three times,” Donovan said.
The hospital’s incident command center opened weeks ago for 8 hours a day. It’s now running 12 hours a day; soon, it’ll be around the clock.
Donovan said they’re prepared for that when it happens.
“We train four-deep in each role within the incident command structure, so we’re ready to go so when we do need to open it up,” she said.
She said a crisis like this brings out the best in hospital workers. They step up and tackle any problem thrown at them.