A matter of life or death: Hoboken critically low on medical supplies

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Hoboken’s mayor is putting out a plea to the federal government for assistance after saying that the city is critically low on medical supplies.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla says that Hoboken University Medical Center estimates that it only has six more days’ worth of personal protective and overall emergency medical equipment. This comes as there are 30 patients in isolation.

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“I had four [patients on] ventilators [Wednesday] morning. By the end of the day, we had 10 [on] ventilators in our ICU. Patients are getting sicker, the ages vary and we really need to manage the criticality,” says Hoboken University Medical Center chief hospital executive Ann Logan.

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Bhalla says that even if the $2 trillion federal stimulus package gets executive approval, he is unsure if that money will reach Hoboken within the next six days.

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Carepoint Health, which runs the Hoboken hospital, says it needs 10,000 surgical masks, 5,000 face shields, 2,800 N95 masks, 5,000 gowns and 13 ventilators for its most critical patients.

“Getting to the point where we have to decide who gets a ventilator and who does not is unthinkable and unacceptable,” says Dr. Melissa Henriquez. “We know it’s coming and we have to prepare and we need more ventilators.”

“Can we find 13 ventilators in this country to avoid having to make life decisions is the question that we’re facing here,” Bhalla says.

The hospital reports that five of its health care workers are out of work and in quarantine. There will also be a need for more nurses due to an expected surge in patients.

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