Patients dying waiting for a hospital bed at Elkhart General Hospital

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:40 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - Elkhart General Hospital has hit an all-time high for hospitalizations just ten days into the new year.

According to Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Michelle Bache, the rise in patients, because of COVID-19, has resulted in some dying while waiting in the emergency room for a hospital bed.

“We are just started to hear about some of these patients who have been waiting to get very critical procedures done, such as by-pass surgery on the heart, valve replacement, that are dying. They didn’t die of COVID but the pandemic has really played a major role in those individuals’ deaths and it is really sad,” Dr. Bache told 16 News Now Monday.

As of Monday morning, Dr. Bache reports 33 people were kept waiting for a hospital bed in the ER.

As a result, surgeries are being cancelled, the ER is full and so is the ICU which has caused those without COVID to wait for hours, if not days, longer than they normally have too.

“The ER, to put it bluntly, is really just a disaster right now. You can’t easily walk through the areas. The patients who continue to come through our front door that are needing to be evaluated and treated, they are occupying beds in the halls, chairs, we are trying to see them out in the waiting room. The waiting room is completely overflowing. It just really is a disaster,” Dr. Bache explains.

Most COVID patients at Elkhart General are having major trouble breathing, have chest pain or pressure, or are discovering blood clots, according to Dr. Batch.

With the hospital now 67 COVID patients, which is responsible for a third of the hospital’s patient capacity, and 80 percent of those patients unvaccinated, Dr. Bache says the solution is simple.

“Long term, the solution is going to be vaccinations. Our goal is to decrease hospitalizations and to decrease deaths. There is nothing that’s going to be more effective than vaccinations,” Dr. Bache says.

According to the CDC, unvaccinated people are 17x more likely to end up in the hospital with COVID, and 20x more likely to end up dying from it.

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