4 Major Health Care Systems Stress The Importance Of Getting Vaccinated As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Strain System


Tuesday, August 17th 2021, 5:32 pm
By: Erica Rankin


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Doctors from Mercy, OU Health, Integris Health and SSM Health St. Anthony said they believe we let our guard down in the state too soon, Tuesday during a news conference.

The spread of the Delta variant has put a strain on hospitals and stretched them thin. So thin that in once case a doctor in Idaho said his hospital was asked to take a transfer COVID-19 ICU patient from Oklahoma, that patient ended up in Utah.

"It is really difficult to process how we can be forced to not be able to take care of patients that come to us," said Dr. Julie Watson, the chief medical officer at Integris Health.

The capacity challenge has continued as hospital beds in the state are scarce.

"A larger portion of people diagnosed now with COVID are being hospitalized," said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health's chief COVID-19 officer.

At Mercy in the past month their daily transfer requests for patients to be admitted has doubled from 30 to 60.

"If you get into a car accident, have a heart attack, need an emergency surgery or have a stroke there is a chance you might not get the time sensitive care you need." said Dr. Bahar Malakouti, the Mercy stroke medical director.

Heath leaders from all four health systems projected as one voice Tuesday and said things can't continue in the direction they are going with COVID-19, especially with a statewide nursing staffing shortage.

Collectively they all said this time around is different because there is a vaccine that has shown to be safe and effective against COVID-19 and its variants.