DETROIT – Detroit is making national headlines after a series of pictures from inside a local hospital went viral.
Images of body bags inside Sinai-Grace Hospital show the grim reality of what first responders are dealing with during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Several containers with the words “short and long term refrigeration rental” on the side of them can be seen in the parking lot at the hospital.
Local 4 crews saw what staff members said are bodies being placed inside the refrigerated containers.
Several employees who spoke to Local 4 said they didn’t want to be identified in fear of losing their jobs.
Many described the conditions at the hospital, saying, “It’s horrible. I’m telling you.”
Numerous news outlets have shown photos of what appears to be body bags inside vacant rooms, including a sleep study room inside the hospital.
An employee described what it is like inside the hospital: “They’ve been doing this since, for at least a month, since COVID-19 started. The funeral homes are full. The morgues are full. It’s just so unsanitary inside. They’re placing the bodies in the sleep study labs. They turn the air condition on to keep the bodies cool. The rooms are full. The nightmares are bad. I’m not sleeping. I can’t eat. I keep dreaming about somebody zipping me up in the body bags. Physically, I’m fine, but it’s mental now. I predict after this is over a lot of people will leave nursing. This is going to start a real bad shortage.”
Sinai-Grace also made headlines last week when nurses protested the nurse to patient ratio. Eight nurses held a sit-in as they asked for more help.
Hospital management told them to work or leave, so they left, citing that they could not properly care for their patients with such a small number of nurses on duty.
The nurses would each have about a dozen seriously ill patients under their care. About half of those patients would be on a ventilator.
Sinai-Grace Hospital released a statement about the body bags:
“The COVID-19 virus has caused significantly greater than normal mortality rates in the Detroit community. This has resulted in capacity issues at funeral homes and morgues outside of Sinai-Grace Hospital. Patients who pass away at our hospital are treated with respect and dignity, remaining on-site until they can be appropriately released. Like hospitals in New York and elsewhere, we have secured additional resources such as mobile refrigeration units to help temporarily manage the capacity issue caused by COVID-19.
Sinai-Grace sees more EMS traffic than any other hospital in Metro Detroit and is the only hospital in northwest Detroit. In addition, there are a large number of nursing homes in the area surrounding the hospital. Among the patient population served by Sinai-Grace, there are extremely high rates of underlying medical conditions such hypertension and diabetes, which puts people at higher risk for COVID-19. Sinai-Grace Hospital remains dedicated to its mission of providing quality compassionate care to the Detroit community.”
According to the Detroit Health Department, there are 7,020 cases of COVID-19 in Detroit. There have been 424 deaths in the city.
As of Tuesday, there are 27,001 confirmed cases in Michigan and 1,768 people have died.