14:05 PM

Patient Surge Strategies for Cook Children's

As we head into the winter, we've already been hit hard by RSV and flu cases, while still testing kids frequently for COVID-19. Even though cases have trended down over the last week, we continue to have a record inpatient census at Cook Children's.

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Patient Surge Strategies for Cook Children's

In our almost 105-year history, we have prided ourselves on avoiding diverting patients from Cook Children's Medical Center, but with record-breaking volumes and census, we have had to make some difficult decisions the last few months.

During November alone, we diverted 418 patients from the Fort Worth medical center after referring hospitals contacted us to arrange a transfer.

“It's important to keep in mind that the surge is statewide with very limited inpatient, ER and ICU beds and there have been times when no beds have been available in the state,” said Jack Sosebee, vice president of Cook Children's Medical Center. “To date, there has been no state disaster declaration for the surge which pediatric hospitals are experiencing yet we remain on an internal disaster. We are currently triaging all patient referrals when we are at capacity and diverting ER referrals, which is something we have never done before.”

While we have diverted patients to as far away as Arkansas Children's and Mercy Children’s in Kansas City, we want you to know we will continue to accept patients under specific exceptions (our existing chronic patients, surgical emergencies, trauma cases, etc.).

We are working with adult facilities on policies, training and education to allow them to feel more comfortable holding and admitting pediatric patients in their facilities. Our NICU census continues to remain high as well and we have seen limited diversions for those patients as well. 

With all this in mind, we have implemented additional surge strategies to include:

  • Attempting to recruit staff as quickly as possible. The market remains very competitive for all positions. 
  • Adding additional Winter Plan positions. 
  • Utilizing nurse residents to open additional pediatric beds in the NICU and on 5 South Tower (20 total) to reduce patients holding in the ER.
  • Asking surgeons to look at and cancel elective procedures that would require an inpatient bed when possible.

We will navigate this surge by collaborating together!

Thank you for your understanding and support.


Debbie and Jack Behind The Scenes Surge Heroes!

In addition to their full-time jobs as AVP and VP respectively, Debbie Boudreaux and Jack Sosebee have been the ones taking around-the-clock patient transfer calls from hospitals across the country.

“They have missed sleep and gone above and beyond, but they have never complained because they understand how important this activity is to fulfilling our Promise for the children we serve,” said Stan Davis, president of Cook Children’s Medical Center.