Lack of ICU beds at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital

Lack of ICU beds at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
Lack of ICU beds at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - According to the Louisiana Department of Health, Region 5 has only ten Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds remaining, but Lake Charles Memorial Hospital explained they’ve been struggling with ICU beds since Memorial Day weekend.

“This region, the five parishes that make up Region 5, we were in a great position long into Memorial Day, and obviously after Memorial Day, things had changed quite a bit,” said Dr. Manley Jordan, Chief Medical Officer for Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. “We’ve seen admissions go up, and because of that we’ve seen increasing admissions into ICUs and to all the hospitals in the region.”

Currently, Jordan said they are at or have surpassed capacity of the ICU units they have available.

“As far as our Intensive Care Unit capacity, this morning we had twenty-four patients in an intensive care unit that was designed for a capacity of sixteen,” Jordan said. “So, the Intensive Care Unit in regards to COVID patients at Memorial is very tight.”

A situation, Manley said, is not unique for Memorial Hospital.

“This situation is also in other hospitals in the area,” Jordan said. “Christus, West Cal, so we’re all kind of in this situation that we’re having to manage critically ill patients with a limited number of beds”

They do have plans to expand capacity, if necessary.

“We do have strategies, what’s called surge capacity, where we have other areas that we can take care of intensive care patients,” Jordan said. “Once they’re [patients] up at our facility, we’re taking care of patients, and that’s why we’re coming up with these contingency plans to overflow patients into other areas of our hospital where we could create other ICU areas.”

Jordan said they opened another non-ICU COVID-19 floor today, and can add additional ICU beds as soon as tomorrow.

According to Matthew Felder, Director of Communications for Lake Charles Memorial Health System, Memorial Hospital has two ICUs. One is a surgical ICU and one is a medical ICU. The medical ICU is where the hospital is keeping COVID-19 patients.

“Our medical ICU is at capacity as it is a sixteen bed unit. However, the rooms are very large and we have the capabilities to go to our surge plan and put two patients to a room in all rooms except one,” says Felder. “So we can surge up to thirty-one ICU patients in that unit. That however, is most likely not accounted for in the available ICU beds data that the state updates every day.”

As of Tuesday, they have fifty-five patients hospitalized at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital with COVID-19.

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