By Anne Geggis
Two Northwest Broward County hospitals can’t take many more patients who need to be in an intensive care unit.
Broward Health Coral Springs has just one bed available in its 21-bed intensive care unit. And Northwest Medical Center in Margate has two beds vacant in its 26-bed intensive care unit, according to data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
Among the general admission hospitals in Broward County, only Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach, Broward Health Medical Center and Broward Health Imperial Point, both in Fort Lauderdale, have fewer beds for taking care of seriously ill patients, according to Monday’s data on the state AHCA website. Those three hospitals have no beds at all for intensive care.
Strained health care resources were one of the fears that led leaders to decide in mid-March to close down businesses deemed “nonessential” for nine weeks. But it looks like community spread is catching up to available resources in some places.
When you count ICU beds and general care beds, Broward Health Coral Springs is also among the hospitals with the lowest bed vacancy in the county, with only 11 percent of all its beds vacant. Overall, Northwest Medical Center is not as crowded.
Broward Health officials estimated that 34 patients — 25 percent of hospital capacity — were in the Coral Springs hospital because of COVID-19. And about seven of those patients are receiving intensive care.
An anonymous person who said she was a registered nurse at the Coral Springs hospital told Coral Springs Talk that regular floors now had COVID-19 patients on the same floor as regular patients. The virus is thought to be highly contagious, especially among those who are sick.
“It doesn’t take a genius to realize that is an extremely unsafe practice,” the “nurse,” wrote.
Jennifer Smith, associate vice president for corporate communications at the public health system, responded to Coral Springs Talk with estimates of how many COVID-19 patients were at the hospital, but did not respond to an email asking for further comment.
“As you can imagine, we’re pretty busy,” Smith wrote.
The state’s numbers show patients are not equally distributed among the county’s hospitals. University Hospital in Tamarac, for example, has just 37 beds filled out of its 177 beds.
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- Anne Geggis has been a newspaper reporter for 30 years, most recently at the Sun Sentinel. She graduated from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt., with a double major in journalism and sociology.
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