Mississippi’s critical frontline healthcare shortage

Thursday evening, Singing River Health System CEO Lee Bond released a message detailing the frontline healthcare shortage at Singing River, declaring it a state of emergency.

Singing River Health System CEO Lee Bond said, “I do believe that it’s a matter of time before somewhere in our great state you’re going to hear a story about someone who goes into an ER somewhere and is not able to be treated because they don’t have the arms and legs to do it.”

That was Singing River Health System CEO Lee Bond addressing Coast business leaders Thursday morning about the current impact of the delta variant on the Coast.

In a statement released Thursday evening, Bond stressed the shortage of funds and healthcare personnel Singing River Hospitals are facing due to COVID. SRHS Gulfport Hospital Administrator Tiffany Murdock said, “Last week we were almost at the pinnacle. I think it was just a shock to see the waves of people coming in. And the way waves of people are still coming in, but we’ve gotten a little more used to it. And again, they’re my heroes, they come in, they’re– we have two patients right now that they’re with people’s families. The compassion and emotion that they can come in and expend every day is just unbelievable. So, it’s sad, but they’re hanging in there.”

A large population of nurses are retiring and others are not renewing their licenses. According to Center for Quality and Workforce, there are 2,000 fewer nurses working in Mississippi than prior to the pandemic. “Twelve months later, 16 months later you have an already short staff because of the prior COVID and then you’re coming and you’re like ‘oh my God’ I mean these people are going to Florida going to Louisiana, Texas, all these different places.”

Due to the shortage, Singing River’s Gulfport Hospital is seeing patient to nurse ratios of up to 7-to-1. “It’s real. It’s scarier than the last time a little bit because we are shorter staffed, but we are going to take care of you. Do not be afraid. You don’t have fear that we’re not going to take care of you. But please take all the measures responsibly to make sure you don’t have to come in here unnecessarily.”

As of Friday, Singing River has 126 patients hospitalized due to COVID, 95 percent of which are unvaccinated.

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