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Medical Care during Crisis Situations

December 22, 2021

Every team member at Reedsburg Area Medical Center is begging every one of you, please stay healthy. Please, take your medications as prescribed by your provider. Please schedule your wellness exams. If you are not feeling well, see your provider. There’s more you can do, too. If you are not already, PLEASE get your COVID vaccine + get your booster. Get your flu shot. Wear a mask EVEN IF YOU’RE VACCINATED. Socially distance. If you feel sick, get tested. Encourage neighbors and loved ones to take these critical steps.

It has been two full years since this deadly pandemic began. Two years! Today, YOUR access to healthcare is threatened due to the surge of patients needing care. Our hospital, our staff, our resources are overwhelmed. When we thought it could not possibly get any worse, it has. Like every hospital  - large, small and in between - we are preparing to make some of the most heartbreaking decisions we’ve EVER had to make. This is not a position we want to be in. This can be PREVENTED.  PLEASE and THANK YOU.  

Sign up for your COVID vaccine and flu shot here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080945aaad29a5fa7-ramc4 

Medical Care during Crisis Situations

During public health emergencies, health care workers may be forced to make very difficult decisions about patient care. There may not enough medical services to help all patients who need medical care. Medical care may be very limited and not to the standards that we are used to when life is normal.

During this severe pandemic, we may be forced to make decisions about resources. Resources include emergency services, hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators, doctors, nurses and other hospital staff, IV supplies, medications and personal protective equipment. As we move through this crisis, resources will become scarce. Hospital staff will be tired and they will get sick. Hospitals will run out of supplies and medications. We will not be able to transfer patients to other hospitals because they are full and also running out of resources. This is no longer a hypothetical; it is our current reality. Our goal is to help the most patients possible, "doing the greatest good for the greatest number."

All patients will receive care. Patients needing ICU beds and ventilators will receive those services if they are available. ICU and ventilator patients will be assessed frequently each day to determine if they are getting better. Patients who are not showing signs of improvement and it appears that they will not survive will have life support discontinued so those resources can be used on a patient with a better chance of survival. If someone no longer qualifies for an Intensive Care bed and a ventilator, they will still get medical care including symptom management with oxygen, medications, pain management and emotional support for the patient and family.

The decision to withdraw life support is not easy to make and will be given great consideration. Decisions about care will not be made by doctors, nurses and others providing care. A special team made up of clinicians and other hospital staff will evaluate each patient to determine that patient’s chances for survival and long term prognosis. Special tools will be used by the team to decide who will be most likely to survive. Several factors including lab work and vital signs are considered in making these decisions. Decisions will not be based on just age and previous medical conditions of a patient. Race, ethnicity, gender, perceptions of social worth, insurance status and ability to pay will never determine the care that a patient receives.

RAMC continues to be dedicated to our community and to our patients. Therefore it is our goal to educate our community on the current crisis and state of affairs. Please, help our staff, help your loved ones, help our community by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask while indoors, and doing all you can to stay healthy this holiday season.