Missouri hospital leader worries area will be 'next New York' as 8 hospitals halt ambulance admissions

Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

Eight Kansas City, Mo.-based hospitals and emergency departments had to refuse ambulances the night of Oct. 14 because they hit capacity, according to the Kansas City Star. 

"We're bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region," Marc Larsen, MD, emergency physician and operations director of the COVID response team at Kansas City-based Saint Luke's Health System, told the Kansas City Star.

Two of the eight hospitals were part of the Saint Luke's system, a hospital spokesperson told the publication, but did not identify the other medical centers.

As of 1 p.m. Oct. 15, five hospitals were still diverting ambulances for patients who weren't in critical condition, Dr. Larsen said.

Saint Luke's Health System had more than 100 COVID-19 patients Oct. 13, a record number. In May and June, the hospital system averaged 15 virus patients a day, increasing to 50 in July and August. In the first two weeks of October, the system averaged 85 patients a day, according to Dr. Larsen. The organization is transforming some preoperative and recovery rooms into intensive care units as COVID-19 patient volume rises.

"I worry that if we don't start taking this seriously as a metropolitan area, we're going to be the next New York," Dr. Larsen said. "We're going to be the next hot spot, because though we have a lot of hospitals, we have a lot of capacity in the area, we are filling up fast."

"Statewide hospitalizations continued to eclipse previous records," according to a Missouri Hospital Association newsletter sent earlier in the week. Pittsburg, Kan.-based Ascension Via Christi Hospital said Oct. 14 it was pausing elective and nonemergent procedures because of capacity concerns.


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