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On April 15, 2020 (today at the moment of writing this question) WIS news posted an article titled "GRAPHIC: Bodies stored in vacant rooms at Detroit hospital overwhelmed by coronavirus". (News originally came from CNN, it looks like).

In that article they provide two pictures. People on Facebook (where alink to this article was posted) were skeptical if this was true.

Here are some things this article says:

An emergency room worker at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit shared photos with CNN that show bodies being stored in vacant hospital rooms and piled on top of each other inside refrigerated holding units brought into the hospital’s parking lot.

Two other ER workers, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity out of concern for their jobs, confirm the photos are an accurate portrayal of the hospital during one 12-hour shift in early April.

At least one room, typically used for studies on sleeping habits, was used to store bodies because morgue staff did not work at night, and the morgue was full.

(the bold is emphasis mine).

So, we have "Sinai-Grace Hospital worker", and "two other ER workers who spoke [...] on the condition of anonymity". No real names, or anybody we know we can trust.

Now, one of the pictures looks like (possibly) a hotel room, and comments on Facebook were raising mistrust regarding that. Some thought it was not a room you would find in hospital, and some - like one person who claims to be a Detroit nurse in a repost of that post (not sure if I should link to that, but I can if I need to) - says it is real.

I thought I would come here with this question.

Question

Is it true that at least one room, typically used for studies on sleeping habits, was used to store bodies in Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit?

  • 2
    @DimitriVulis I don't know if you saw the answer but it turns out that it's real. – MiniRagnarok Apr 16 at 14:55
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    Probably better than using non-vacant rooms? – Azor Ahai -- he him Apr 16 at 14:58
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    I understand healthy skepticism, so this is just a comment, but to me this doesn't sound odd or strange at all. I guess I've read enough about how hospitals hide recently deceased patients from other patients that this doesn't faze me. They've got to put the bodies somewhere, and I'm sure morgues are crowded. This checks out. Doesn't seem weird or wrong, either. – user91988 Apr 16 at 17:15
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    Keep in mind, anonymous to you doesn't mean anonymous to the news agency relying on the source. News agencies need to know their sources to determine if the information is accurate, they just promise to keep the identity of their sources confidential (a promise that can be broken in extreme cases, but usually kept). Basically, you're not trusting anonymous sources, you're trusting CNN to have corroborated the identities of the sources, and as much of their stories as possible. There's a reason CNN waited for three sources here; with three sources they've checked, it's likely true. – ShadowRanger Apr 18 at 1:03
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Yes, that appears to be the case -- The Detroit News first reported about Sinai-Grace Hospital's body-storage issues on April 9, several days before the CNN report with photos that you saw reposted on WISTV:

Accounts of conditions inside the for-profit hospital were given to The Detroit News by five nurses and doctors — some of whom requested anonymity after a nurse was fired for posting on social media last month — as their reports suggest Sinai-Grace is among the hardest-hit hospitals by Detroit's surge of COVID-19 patients.

About five patients die from the virus each 12-hour shift, and there aren't always enough body bags or refrigerators to accommodate them, said Eichenlaub of Troy.

"All three coolers are filled, the morgue and the viewing room next to the morgue are full and right now, we're taking bodies to the sleep lab to store them," he said. **"We initially had to double bag each patient, but we started to run out of body bags and began scrambling floor-to-floor to find places to take them."

As for the room "not looking like a hospital room," the room shown in that photo looks well within the range of what I've seen for non-emergency care in a hospital: blandly institutional, some medical gear hanging on the back wall, possibly a hospice room (for people whose death is being eased) or an obstetrics recovery room.

Addition: Several of the stories about said the room is a sleep study room; Sinai-Grace has a sleep medicine center, though I couldn't find any pre-existing photos of those rooms. (You find a similar, nicer setup at nearby Henry Ford Health System.)

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  • 23
    Note: Sleep study room. Patients come there to sleep with a monitor attached, they aren't being treated. Of course it doesn't look much like a medical facility. – Loren Pechtel Apr 16 at 0:58
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    Nice explanation, yet " after a nurse was fired for posting on social media last month" --> Now is not the time for firing medical staff. – chux - Reinstate Monica Apr 16 at 13:19
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    @chux-ReinstateMonica Now is the perfect time to fire medical staff, because the staff currently has no problem to find a new employer. – Alexander Apr 16 at 15:03
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    @Alexander Nah, it's the worst - if you fire the medical stuff, you'll have big trouble finding the replacement. It's not the worst time to be fired though. – Dan M. Apr 17 at 17:02

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