RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Hospitals are having to make tough decisions to open up beds.
Baptist Health Richmond extended its suspension on elective procedures because of an increase in hospitalized COVID patients. Other rural hospitals are also struggling. They said they’re running out of room, supplies and medications.
Hospitals are pleading with their communities to get vaccinated and said the situation is critical.
Baptist Health Richmond and Corbin leaders are teaming up with those from CHI Saint Joseph London and Berea, hoping to spread the same message. Currently, 50-60% of patients in these hospitals have COVID. And according to physicians, this time around, the patients are sicker and younger, ranging from their mid-twenties to early fifties.
“The delta variant is much more contagious, particularly for those who are unvaccinated,” said Dr. David Worthy, the chief medical officer at Baptist Health Corbin.
Dr. Worthy said it’s not just his hospital or the others in the area that are overwhelmed right now, but it’s the entire system across the country.
Dr. Worthy said all non-emergency surgeries have been canceled and ER wait times are incredibly long.
He said he was on the phone for hours Tuesday morning, trying to find one ICU bed for one patient. He called hospitals in Indiana, Ohio and even the University of Pittsburgh before he finally found a bed.
Dr. Worthy and Dr. Shelley Stanko, CMO at Saint Joseph London, emphasized the majority of these patients are unvaccinated.
“It’s the difference of the person who teetered at the edge but did not need the ventilator who had risk factors that would say they might not have a high survival rate, but they have survived, and they are getting better, versus the person who is unvaccinated and unfortunately continues to struggle and digress and decline despite being offered every possible medical treatment,” Dr. Stanko said.
These hospitals have also restricted all visitors again.