The Other America

Many of us live in large population areas with multiple hospitals within short distances of each other and having a large pool of staffingresources. But this is the exception. There are communities like those inStarr County, Texas. (1,229 sq mile, population 65,000)

Starr County has one regional hospital, Starr Count Memorial, staffed by 12 staff physicians, 7 contract physicians, and 7 nurse practitioners/ physicians assistants. SCMH is licensed as a 48-bed acute-care medical center with 8 ICU beds.

In normal times, when patients needing care exceed that available at SCMH, they are transferred to larger municipal hospitals, but the whole state of Texas and neighboring states have no ICU beds to spare. Starr has an 8-bed COVID-19 unit with 3 on ventilators and life support and 28 people needing beds.  They are running out of oxygen tanks.    

Starr County announced this week that there are “Doctors at a Texas hospital along the US-Mexico border that may decide to send coronavirus patients “home to die by their loved ones” due to limited resources.. 

Government and health officials in Starr County are creating committees to review patients’ cases at the SCMH. Physicians wil be using a mass-casualty treatement plan (triage) devised by physicians in North Texas to determine, based on the chance of survival, who gets treatment and who does not. Those with an expected low chance of survival are selected will be sent home “to die by their loved ones.” 

Starr County government officials issued orders mandated the wearing of masks, which as been blocked because it exceeds the measures dictated by the State.  

There has been that stated a manditory mask 


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