A doctor in Tampa, Florida has revealed that he was forced to turn a cancer patient away from a hospital because all of the beds were taken up due to the recent influx of coronavirus patients.
Dr Nitesh Paryani told CNN about the incident.
He said a nearby hospital needed to transfer a cancer patient to a location with adequate treatment options. Generally Dr Paryani would take in such a patient, but he was forced to turn them away.
“We just didn’t have a bed. There was simply no room in the hospital to treat the patient,” he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday.
Doctors across the country have warned that the latest wave of the coronavirus, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, has pushed health care workers and hospital occupancy to the brink.
Many doctors are reporting burnout and exhaustion, all exacerbated by a worsening staffing shortage in hospitals.
“Delta is just ripping through the hospitals in ways that we couldn’t have imagined and the strain it’s causing on the health care system is unimaginable,” the doctor said.
Florida has been ravaged by the Delta variant, and the state is representative of 17 per cent of the nation’s Covid-19 hospitalisations despite only making up 6.5 per cent of the nation’s population. It is the second most infected place on the planet, and Covid-19 cases there are higher now than at any point during the pandemic.
Dr Paryani said that Florida hospitals have been inundated with patients in recent weeks.
“What we are seeing is just a tremendous amount of patients coming in. The other day, our emergency room had a 12-hour wait. Almost every hospital in the city is on diversion, meaning they don’t have room to take transfer patients,” he said. “Patients who need complex care simply can’t access it. This kind of strain is something we’ve never seen before.”
The doctor encouraged Americans to take the coronavirus vaccines, calling them the “best tool we have” to beat the pandemic.
He noted that more than 90 per cent of people admitted to ICUs and put on ventilators are unvaccinated.
“There is no question that the vaccine is the best option we have. It is also the cheapest option we have. It is the most effective, and there’s really no reason that people should be avoiding the vaccine,” he said. “There’s not a single patient that we’ve had to intubate because of a complication from the vaccine. The people we’re intubating, the people that are on life support, the people that are dying are the ones that are not vaccinated.”