'Dismal Situation' As New Jersey Hospital Overwhelmed With Coronavirus Patients

Lynda Lopez
March 27, 2020 - 8:18 pm

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey has the second most coronavirus cases in the country, and one hospital is already becoming overwhelmed.

WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez spoke with Dr. Robert Brenner at The Valley Hospital Systems to hear how they are handling the onslaught.

“Valley has, currently, 144 in-patients that are either suspected of having – we call them PUI, which are patients under investigation – or confirmed. Thirty-five patients are on ventilators and 16 of those are confirmed. Corona patients, either suspected or positive, is occupying three of our four floors and 50% of our census right now is related to this epidemic,” explains Dr. Brenner.

He notes the hospital has already seen 15 deaths from the virus and he says the hospital does not have enough equipment to get through the pandemic.

When Lopez asked if he felt the hospital had enough ventilators, he responded, “I would say no.”ooo

“If you think about our volume, and I just want to go into this, on March 14th, we had zero cases. On the 18th, we had 73, on the 22nd, we had 104 and today we have a 144 – so the doubling is every five days,” Dr. Brenner explains. “So, right now, we have six ventilators left and we’re sometimes borrowing from other hospitals as things go up and down.”

He says, unfortunately, many patients who were on ventilators have died, but the hospital has to make tough decisions as to who can get one and who cannot.

Meanwhile, the staff is working overtime to ensure patients are in good sprits as they try to deal with the shortages.

“I round up there, I put my mask on and go up to the units and I try to keep their morale up,” he said. “I've given out masks of various colors to make them happy – it's very hard to console them. They're dealing with a very dismal situation where all you see throughout the entire intensive care unit are people on ventilators and people that are very sick.”

But, he says the staff are holding up and he’s hopeful new field hospitals will help ease some of the pressure off the hospital.