Carolyn Marnon – Beaumont Wayne Hospital reopened Tuesday, May 5th, after a month-long controversy over the healthcare facility’s sudden closure in the middle of a nationwide pandemic. The hospital is now serving both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients after receiving regulatory approvals. The hospital will be reopening in phases as additional staff is brought back to work.
When the pandemic was starting to hit the Detroit area, Beaumont Wayne was designated a reserve COVID-19 hospital as the state’s largest hospital system braced for a surge. The surge turned out to be more moderate, with state health officials crediting social distancing, the stay at home order and other factors for that progress. On March 26, Beaumont was caring for 650 confirmed COVID-19 patients and over 200 patients with tests pending.
Beaumont Wayne staff members and community members were all stunned when the hospital suddenly shut their doors and either reassigned staff to other Beaumont facilities or laid-off employees in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic where health care workers are considered heroes. Wayne city officials received numerous calls from healthcare workers who were confused about what was happening in their own place of employment. Beaumont Wayne has been prominent in the City of Wayne for years.
Mayor Rhaesa said the messages that Beaumont was releasing about the closure were contradictory to what seemed to be actually occurring. Beaumont officials said they were trying to work with their employees, but employees indicated to the Mayor that they didn’t know what was actually going on. “What was happening inside the hospital was not matching with what Beaumont officials were saying”, said Mayor Rhaesa. “COVID-19 patients in critical condition were being moved to other hospitals even though Wayne was designated a COVID-19 only hospital”, the Mayor added. Mayor Rhaesa went on to add that he felt that it was wrong for the hospital to shut down during a global pandemic. He also raised concerns about the poor communication between the hospital, the Wayne community and the hospital employees.
“I want to thank everyone for their support and hard work over the past few weeks to reopen our community’s hospital,” Mayor Rhaesa said in a statement. “I want to thank Jordyn Sellek, the Executive Director of the Conference of Western Wayne, and the Mayors and Supervisors of the 18 Conference of Western Wayne Communities for coming together to support the resolution asking the hospital to reopen. I also want to thank the Wayne City Council for supporting a similar resolution at the Tuesday, April 21st, Wayne City Council Meeting.
“I also want to thank the members of Congress who stepped up to help, our State Representatives and Senators, our County Executive and Commissioners. Last, but not least, let’s not forget the hospital employees who were impacted but chose to stand up. They deserve our thanks and appreciation for their dedication.”
Beaumont Wayne Dr. Muzammil Admed announced on his Facebook page “The whole team is glad to be back. In the ER, patients are starting to trickle in: an unfortunate lady with a hip fracture, another woman with congestive heart failure. Our environmental services team is keeping the hospital safe and clean. #Beaumontwayne has served this area for over 60 years, and we are so glad to have it start back up again. All hospitals have had a dramatic fall in volumes in the past month. But as the COVID threat decreases, people can start getting their health needs addressed that have been put on hold.”
The message continues “We do still watch the COVID numbers, and metro-Detroit has been great with social distancing and flattening the curve. Unfortunately, the COVID numbers in western and northern Michigan are starting to rise. Don’t let down your guard: Until the testing shortage is resolved, we must wear masks, keep social distancing and work together to get through this!”
In another post, Dr. Ahmed wrote “#BeaumontWayne has undergone a thorough deep cleaning and patients can come here with the full assurance they can safely get their health care needs met. There is still much uncertainty about the future. COVID19 is quite active, and the socio-economic repercussions are just starting to be felt. Adjustments will be required. We cannot assure stability or a return to the successes we have had in the past, but we can promise you that we will work together to make Beaumont Wayne and the community it serves healthy and strong.”