The four major hospital systems here in Oklahoma City said they were all overwhelmed by the influx of COVID-19 patients coming through their doors.
Patients visiting SSM Health St. Anthony, OU Health, Mercy or Integris will all notice the same thing: long wait times. Hospitals are struggling to meet demand with reduced staff.
“In our emergency room, at the doorstep of our hospitals, you’re talking about a full waiting room all the time with people waiting to get into the waiting room,” the vice president of business said. Medical Officers of SSM Health St. Anthony, Dr. Kersey Winfree.
The metro’s four major hospital systems are back to share their data with Oklahomans on okchospitalreport.com, something they haven’t had to do in months. As of January 14, they had nearly 700 patients across the four systems and that stretched their staff then.
“It’s like asking wounded soldiers out of the hospital and back into the battlefield before they’re even healed remotely,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Integris Health, the Dr Julie Watson.
Staff isn’t the only thing. The resources used to care for COVID patients as well as patients in need of assistance who do not have the virus are few.
Integris Health said it had to deny more than 70 patient transfer requests in the past 24 hours.
Dr Watson said most problems faced by hospitals are preventable.
“I can honestly tell you that the patients who are in our ICUs with COVID are not vaccinated, and if they had been vaccinated they wouldn’t need the ICU,” Dr Watson said.
In all four hospital systems, there are no critical care beds open, so hospital officials are asking the public to be more careful as the surge continues.
“If you’re sick come to our emergency room, if you’re not sick and looking for a test, don’t come,” Dr Watson said. “You are diverting our threatened resources from caring for patients who desperately need us.”