Beaumont hospitals nearly full due to pandemic, illnesses, and staff shortage

Beaumont hospital says a staffing shortage combined with an extreme number of patients is causing major problems at the state's largest hospital group.

A worsening staff shortage and the temporary closure of 180 beds across Michigan's largest health system chain means that its 10 hospital locations can't accommodate many more patients.

The pressure on Beaumont is an industry-wide trend, but the situation isn't due only to COVID-19 patients. 

It is related to the pandemic, however. The delays in testing and treatment for other health issues that were implemented due to the pandemic is beginning to metastasize into something worse as most of the beds in use at Beaumont are filled with non-coronavirus patients. 

"Many people delayed getting tests and treatment for medical issues because of their concerns about the pandemic. Now, more than a year and a half after the pandemic began, those delays in care are resulting in medical emergencies," said Beaumont CEO John Fox. 

Meanwhile, the burnout among nurses and doctors that have already gritted their teeth through 18 months of public health crises is taking a toll on the industry that had already struggled to keep people employed.

"People are looking for alternative forms of employment. I also think the schools being closed last year created an issue with parents that needed to stay home with their children and then fatigue," said Dr. David Donaldson, an emergency center chief. "I think fatigue is a big part of it."

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On top of all of that, Beaumont is also reporting a blood shortage as well. 

According to a release from the hospital chain Wednesday, the company is actively working to fill its recruitment gap - the main reason behind the closure of emergency beds.