COVID Overwhelming ICU Beds

It's happening again. This time, it was easily preventable.

Intensive care in the hospital, COVID-19

Yesterday evening, the Washington Post get around to a story (“Alabama man dies after being turned away from 43 hospitals as covid packs ICUs, family says“) that’s been circulating elsewhere for a couple of days:

When Ray DeMonia was having a cardiac emergency last month, his Alabama family waited anxiously for a nearby hospital with available space in its intensive care unit.

But in a state where coronavirus infections and unvaccinated patients have overwhelmed hospitals in recent months, finding an available ICU bed was an ordeal. It was so difficult, his family wrote this month, that the hospital in his hometown of Cullman, Ala., contacted 43 others in three states — and all were unable to give him the care he needed.

DeMonia, who was eventually transferred to a Mississippi hospital about 200 miles away, died at 73 on Sept. 1 — three days shy of his birthday.

Raven DeMonia, his daughter, told The Washington Post on Sunday that it was “shocking” when the family was told that dozens of ICUs were unable to treat her father.

[…]

Jennifer Malone, a spokeswoman for Cullman Regional Medical Center, confirmed to The Post that Ray DeMonia was “a patient in our care and was transferred to a different facility.” She declined to offer specifics of his situation, citing privacy reasons.

“The level of care he required was not available at Cullman Regional,” Malone said.

DeMonia’s case comes as Alabama hospitals grapple with a lack of ICU resources amid a surge in patients — many of whom are unvaccinated. Scott Harris, head of the Alabama Department of Public Health, said Friday that while the state’s increase in hospitalizations appears to have stabilized, there are still more patients who need ICU care than there are available beds.

“We continue to have a real crisis in Alabama with our ICU bed capacity,” Harris said at a news conference, adding that there were about 60 more ICU patients than there were open beds in the state last week.

Nearly 2,800 people in the state were hospitalized with covid-19 on Sunday, including 768 in the ICU, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. The number of total hospitalizations over a seven-day average decreased by 4 percent compared with the previous period. Although Alabama is averaging 3,641 new infections a day, that is also an improvement compared with its latest seven-day average for daily cases.

Vaccinations are also up, but with just 40 percent of residents fully immunized, Alabama still has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate among all states — ahead of Idaho, West Virginia and Wyoming, according to tracking by The Post.

After President Biden promised last week to use his power to circumvent the actions of Republican governors and elected officials who were “undermining” pandemic-relief efforts, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) challenged the president to “bring it on.” Ivey, who has pushed for the unvaccinated to get their shots but said the state would never mandate it, allocated $12 million in federal funding this month to bring travel nurses to Alabama hospitals experiencing staffing shortages, such as the ones that DeMonia’s family encountered.

The juxtaposition of idiot politicians grandstanding on the vaccine issue, an out-of-control pandemic that’s easily controllable, and the death of someone from another disease who might otherwise have been saved is hard to take. It’s the very thing that many of us have been warning about—huge negative externalities being imposed by the politicization and scaremongering over the vaccine and, indeed, the virus itself.

It’s not just one 73-year-old man in Alabama, either. There are several similar cases.

CBS (“Veteran dies of treatable illness as COVID fills hospital beds, leaving doctors ‘playing musical chairs’,” August 27):

When U.S. Army veteran Daniel Wilkinson started feeling sick last week, he went to the hospital in Bellville, Texas, outside Houston. His health problem wasn’t related to COVID-19, but Wilkinson needed advanced care, and with the coronavirus filling up intensive care beds, he couldn’t get it in time to save his life.

“He loved his country,” his mother, Michelle Puget, told “CBS This Morning” lead national correspondent David Begnaud. “He served two deployments in Afghanistan, came home with a Purple Heart, and it was a gallstone that took him out.”

Last Saturday, Wilkinson’s mother rushed him to Bellville Medical Center, just three doors down from their home.

But for Wilkinson, help was still too far away.

Belville emergency room physician Dr. Hasan Kakli treated Wilkinson, and discovered that he had gallstone pancreatitis, something the Belville hospital wasn’t equipped to treat.

“I do labs on him, I get labs, and the labs come back, and I’m at the computer, and I have one of those ‘Oh, crap’ moments. If that stone doesn’t spontaneously come out and doesn’t resolve itself, that fluid just builds up, backs up into the liver, backs up into the pancreas, and starts to shut down those organs. His bloodwork even showed that his kidneys were shutting down.”

Kakli told Begnaud that his patient was dying right in front of him. Wilkinson needed a higher level of care, but with hospitals across Texas and much of the South overwhelmed with COVID patients, there was no place for him.

Kakli recalled making multiple phone calls to other facilities, only to get a lot of, “sorry … sorry … sorry,” in reply. Places had the specialists to do the procedure, but because of how sick he was Wilkinson needed intensive care, and they didn’t have an ICU bed to put him in.

He was 46.

KLTV 7 (“Man dies waiting for ICU bed, family says,” August 27):

Close friends and family say a 44-year-old man died unexpectedly waiting for a hospital ICU bed to open up.

Robert Van Pelt was hospitalized for an issue unrelated to COVID-19, but because COVID patients are taking up so many hospital beds, his friends and family told KWCH-TV he wasn’t able to get the immediate care he needed.

They warn dying while waiting on a hospital bed is a reality as hospital occupancy is officially at dangerous levels.

“There are a lot of people who don’t believe the hospitals are full. It’s really hard to listen to when one of my friends’ husband was lying in a hospital dying, because he couldn’t get the treatment he needed, because the beds were full,” said family friend Liz Hamer, speaking on behalf of Van Pelt’s family.

[…]

Van Pelt died waiting three days for a bed in the ICU as unvaccinated patients overwhelmed rooms across the state, his family said. Kansas hospitals reached out to 20 states, trying to find just one available ICU bed. However, there wasn’t a single ICU bed open and emergency rooms were full.

“The family will never know if having an open hospital bed or open neuro ICU beds, specifically, in any of the 20 states where he could have found urgent care, they’ll never know if that could have kept him here,” Hamer said. “And that’s something that’s extra hard for them to carry right now.”

Three cases in a nation of 330 million barely qualify as anecdotal. But that’s not even counting reports like this:

WMC5 Action News Memphis (“Mississippi reports seventh COVID-19 pediatric death as lack of ICU beds continues,” September 8):

Mississippi health officials say the state remains in the thick of the Delta surge.

This comes as the state reports another child has died from COVID-19 and there continues to be a lack of ICU beds.

Wednesday, Mississippi reported over 1,900 new cases and 102 new deaths. Ten of those deaths are in DeSoto County.

[…]

Mississippi has now lost seven children to the coronavirus. The state is also seeing a significant number of pregnant women not survive COVID.

“Currently, we’re investigating eight reports of pregnant women who have died within the past several weeks, all of whom are unvaccinated,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said.

ICU bed availability continues to be very scarce. As of Wednesday morning, critical care hospitals reported 10 ICU beds available with 202 emergency room holds.

“The bed capacity for ICU space is effectively zero still in the state of Mississippi. We have additional ICU capacity in some hospitals in the state. It could be used, but the problem remains of insufficient staffing,” said Jim Craig, senior deputy and director of health protection.

Nor the ones where people are dying from COVID itself, like this one.

Charlotte Observer (“COVID patient dies in Oregon emergency department waiting for ICU bed. ‘Very real’,” August 20):

A person who tested positive for COVID-19 needed extra medical care.

They went to an emergency room in Oregon, expecting they could get the crucial care they needed. Instead, they died Wednesday in the emergency department because there were no beds available in the medical center’s intensive care unit, the staff at the hospital said.

“It had been several hours because other COVID positive patients had filled those beds,” staff at CHI Mercy Hospital in Roseburg said in a letter. “Even after expanding ICU care onto other floors, there weren’t any beds available for this patient.”

The patient died in the emergency department waiting for intensive care, the hospital said. Staff did not identify the patient in the letter they sent to Douglas County officials.

Still, this was not only predictable but predicted. And likely to get worse before it gets better.

Forbes (“In Idaho And Other States, The Delta Covid-19 Surge Is Forcing Hospitals To Ration ICU Beds,” September 7):

The Delta surge of Covid-19 is forcing hospitals in parts of the U.S. to plan for or implement rationing of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. On September 6th, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that as hospitals in a number of states fill up with Covid-19 patients, doctors will have to make “tough choices” regarding who will get an ICU bed.

In a growing number of states, doctors and hospital administrators are already making these hard decisions. And not just in the South; also in states like Idaho.

Idaho public health officials have enacted what they call “crisis standards of care,” as the latest Covid-19 surge overwhelms hospitals, particularly in the Northern part of the state. State officials have warned that some patients there may not be able to get needed care.

The state’s crisis standards of care guidelines stipulate that those deemed in most need of care and most likely to benefit are placed on priority lists for scarce resources, such as ICU beds. This means that if a patient requires ICU care, someone else may have to be removed from a ventilator to make room.

What this implies is that these hospital decision-makers and physicians will be placed in the uncomfortable role of being the ones rationing care, effectively granting death sentences to some. Not every Covid-19 patient can be helped, and this will also include non-Covid-19 patients as lack of ICU space applies to them as well.

The problem of hospitals bumping up against capacity constraints certainly isn’t limited to Idaho. In at least six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas – more than 90% of ICU beds are occupied. In some states, such as West Virginia, several hospitals have no ICU beds available. Neighboring states, including Kentucky, have declared crises are imminent. Kentucky’s Governor Beshear asserted that the state’s “situation is dire.” Even Hawaii, a highly vaccinated state, is preparing for possible rationing action as the Delta wave intensifies. Last week, Governor Ige signed an executive order releasing hospitals and healthcare workers from liability if they must ration healthcare.

Tri-Cities [Washington] Herald (“Sickest patients overflowing ICU at Tri-Cities largest hospital. Almost all unvaccinated,” September 9):

The Tri-Cities largest hospital is looking closely at how to ration its intensive care unit beds, as ICU patients are overflowing into other departments due to COVID-19.

On some days every staffed bed in the intensive care unit at Kadlec Regional Medical Center is used for a COVID patient, said Dr. Phani Kantamneni, medical director of the Kadlec ICU at a news briefing of the Benton Franklin Health District on Thursday.

Already the state of Idaho has taken the unprecedented step of activating its crisis standards of care for parts of the state, requiring rationing of hospital care because of a lack of beds and staff solely due to the impacts of COVID, said Dr. Amy Person, health officer for Benton and Franklin counties.

Beds and equipment are not available for all patients admitted to hospitals, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said earlier this week.

Already at Kadlec surgical cases are being canceled each day and some patients ill enough to need ICU care are instead being treated in the post-operative ward or the emergency department because the ICU is full, Kantamneni said.

Demand for intensive care unit treatment at Kadlec has continued to increase over the last few weeks, with 60% to 100% of staffed ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, he said.

At one time last week the ICU had 21 patients on mechanical ventilators, all of them COVID patients, he said.

And he said the ICU is treating more people ages 20 to 50 for COVID than elderly people, a shift from a year ago in the pandemic.

“Almost everyone that is sick enough to come to the ICU and be on the mechanical ventilator is unvaccinated,” Kantamneni said.

Not surprisingly, these reports are sparking obvious backlash, with even medical ethicists flat out of patience.

Nancy Gibbs, the director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, “Do the unvaccinated deserve scarce ICU beds?” (WaPo, September 1):

Compassion fatigue is a rising condition, as public sympathy for unvaccinated covid-19 patients sinks beneath the weight of news reports. Need brain surgery? Better not live in Gulfport, Miss., where brain and heart surgeries are being postponed at one hospital for lack of intensive care unit beds. Need an ambulance? Wait times are spiking as multiple hospitals go on “critical care bypass” and first responders have to drive farther to find space.

No surprise, then, to see the backlash, including the Alabama doctor who announced that he would not treat patients who refused to get vaccinated, after Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said “it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the jump in cases. Social media hosts the bloodless celebration of celebrities who wind up in the ICU or the morgue, such as Tennessee radio host Phil Valentine, who once made a song mocking vaccines, and whose death from covid inspired responses along the lines of “#COVIDiots thanks for playing the natural selection game.” The less and less “silent majority” from business leaders to health-care workers to much of Blue America, leans toward making the unvaccinated pay for holding everyone else hostage.

But even as the culture wars rage over masks and mandates, access to health care adds a new dimension. ICU beds are a finite resource; so is time, and this is a zero-sum game. Hallways, conference rooms and cafeterias are being turned into covid wards, but what happens when the ambulance pulls up with a stroke victim, the clock is ticking and there’s no space left? “We’re going to have to choose who gets care and who doesn’t get care,” says New Mexico Health and Human Services Secretary David Scrase of the state’s looming crisis, “and we don’t want to get to that point.”

We are, alas, at that point.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    One wonders whether Republicans retain enough empathy to even say “out damned spot” when they wash their hands of responsibility towards their own communities.

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  2. Scott says:

    In San Antonio, hospitalizations due to COVID have eased a bit primarily due to a large increase in use of the monoclonal antibody infusion center set up at the local coliseum. It is said to have decreased hospitalizations of its “customers” by 70%.

    It is not just ICU beds that can be a limiting factor. We’ve had several instances where there are no EMS units available either due to the increased of COVID demands.

    Like all things medical, there is never a discussion of the financial cost of all this irresponsibility but it has to be enormous and someone is going to have to cough up the cash.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And here in the next week or 2 I am going to roll the dice on a 3rd surgery in less than a month. Should be OK, no big deal. But one does wonder.

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  4. MarkedMan says:

    Let’s be clear, this problem was preventable and is predominantly confined to Republican states. Republicans don’t “do” complicated infrastructure things anymore. They do slogan based policies like Anti-abortion. Anti-trans. Anti-anti-racism. Civil War statues. Mr. Potatohead. Doctor Seuss.

    For the life of me I cannot imagine why an intelligent young person would move to a Republican state, nor an older one who will increasingly need hospitals and other medical infrastructure. And I certainly question any business that relocates to one.

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  5. KM says:

    Everyone wondering about the ethics of “punishing” COVIDoits misses the fact that it’s unethical to focus so many resources for so long on saving a single patient when you could save several with that same setup. Quite frankly, in triage they’d be the resource hogs that could be saved in an ideal world but in a crisis have to be set aside to their fates. They’ve been demanding more than their fair share and are causing deaths of non-COVID people who can’t get the medical care they need.. only to die days later, rendering it a useless sacrifice. It’s the trolly problem in reverse – society needs to pull the lever to save the crowd instead of the moron who tied themselves to the tracks.

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  6. Lounsbury says:

    @Kathy: Empathy quite besides the point. Self-interest. Their own constituents are statistically dying more than the Democrats.

    This is what happens when a Party becomes beholden to a radical minority.

    It is a signal that the very short-termist calculation over the Gerrymandering is leading to a long-term dead-end evolution, rather analagous to an animal that takes a extremely narrow specialisation path in evolution that locks it out of flexibility.

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  7. Paine says:

    I attended our county fair over the weekend here in eastern Washington. Hardly anyone was wearing a mask and the people manning the free vaccination tent looked pretty bored.

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  8. Jen says:

    How many more people are we going to lose because a segment of the population bought into the hoax/no more than a cold nonsense?

    Compassion fatigue is undeniable. I feel so badly for the family members of vaccinated people who are dying because of the selfishness and (quite frankly) stupidity of others.

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  9. grumpy realist says:

    And you can’t just say “oh, but compassion fatigue is BAD, and doctors/nurses who REALLY believe in their oaths won’t quit.”

    At some point, this country has to stop putting all the burden on the caretakers to make up for the consequences of irresponsibility of patients. Free-riders need to be removed from the system.

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  10. Jax says:

    I’ve been really struggling with our locals the last couple days. We lost a gal in her mid-30’s to COVID last week, and there are SO MANY Covidiots on her Facebook page mourning her loss while posting memes about never taking the vaccine. We KNEW this woman, you know?! Class parties, picking kids up after school, PTO, this isn’t just some nameless statistic….not even her death will move the needle on them taking the vaccine. Several of the nurses are planning on quitting their jobs.

    I’m so mentally exhausted from worrying about people who just don’t care. Angry, too.

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  11. mattbernius says:

    I can’t believe that I didn’t have “create actual death panels to pwn the libs” on my bingo card.

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  12. Kathy says:

    If you look back at a post right here at OTB from April 28th, 2020, you see numbers like 1,026,637 cases in the US, with 58,265 deaths.

    Hard to believe these are total numbers, not weekly ones.

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  13. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Blacklist them. Just like cops who leave due to bad behavior and get hired two towns over, they’re hoping to be traveling nurses or score a job in another system. If they’re going to inconvience everyone in their snit fit, it should be on record they CHOSE to endanger patients due to easily disprovable lies.

    Also, nurses or any else who quits due to Vax mandates shouldn’t be eligible for unemployment or any other benefit since they CHOSE to leave. The whole point of a “principled stand” is to take the hit to show the strength of your convictions. They’re hoping to shut down society and force us to comply with their whims but will eagerly hold their hands out to be paid while doing so.

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  14. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: as my daughter starts to look at colleges, I have to discuss with her why a college choice in a Republican state is not a good idea.

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  15. Monala says:

    The ICUs have been filled up with disgusting people like this. Hospital staff don’t deserve this, and I fear violence against them:

    @willsommer

    News in QAnon world today: Veronica Wolski, a Covid denier known for hanging QAnon signs on bridges, died of Covid last night. QAnon believers, led by Lin Wood, had been deluging the hospital with demands that she receive ivermectin. Cops were called last night amid bomb threats.

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  16. Jen says:

    On nursing and anti-vax snit-fits, this article may be of interest:

    A hospital says it won’t deliver babies after staffers resigned over coronavirus vaccine mandate

    I’m just astonished.

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  17. Monala says:

    @KM: I think grumpy might have been referring to doctors and nurses who quit due to burnout, not those who quit in response to vaccine mandates.

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  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: None of the Republicans can even see there’s a spot. Republicans entered the late 20th century with a reputation as the daddy party, the party of bankers and businessmen, the party of fiscal probity and Burkian cautious conservatism.And they retain that image. IMHO Republicans got away with the Iran-Contra clown act without political harm because most people couldn’t believe Republicans would do anything that stupid. And because their legacy image persists, many people can’t see what the Republican Party has become.

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  19. Jon says:

    @KM: As a general rule if you quit your job you are not eligible for unemployment benefits, irrespective of why you quit.

    Any healthcare workers who quit a job rather than get vaccinated are going to have a tough time finding a new job in healthcare, since part of the new rules requires any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid dollars to require vaccinations. See here, the “Requiring COVID-⁠19 Vaccinations for Over 17 Million Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and Other Health Care Settings” section.

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  20. Monala says:

    @Jen: via Balloon Juice, the situation might not be that dire:

    You have to imagine that the loss of 6 maternity unit employees leading to the closing of a maternity ward means that the hospital doesn’t deliver many babies — you’re right. This hospital had 201 babies delivered last year, while the average hospital in New York State had 1,023, and the average hospital in the nation had 589. Also, there’s a hospital 15 miles away that has won a labor and delivery excellence award three years running.

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  21. Jen says:

    @Monala: It’s not really the number of babies born there that makes this dire. It’s the fact that six maternity unit employees are so opposed to keeping the moms/parents/infants in their care safe that they’d quit rather than be vaccinated against a deadly disease.

    I’m glad there’s another hospital that close.

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  22. Scott F. says:

    This isn’t a push-back on the gist of this post, James, but as I look back I’ve become convinced that this current ICU situation was never “easily preventable.” Our fate was sealed when COVID-19 emerged while Trump was POTUS.

    Much has been written here and elsewhere stating that Trump is who we thought he was and there is a mountain of evidence that no person and no event was going to bring him to step back and adjust his approach to anything once he was President. Republicans chose to back him knowing he was a ticking time bomb.

    So, Trump‘s inability to rise to the occasion with the pandemic was inevitable. His failure to step aside and let scientists and public health experts take the lead was inevitable. His politicization of the pandemic to minimize its damage to his reelection prospects was inevitable. The GOP and Trumpkin blind obeisance was inevitable.

    When Lindsey Graham said, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it,” he was right. Most of us knew he was right. We just hoped the destruction would be limited to the GOP.

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  23. Monala says:
  24. Gustopher says:

    The longer it goes on, the more it endangers everyone who is having a heart attack, stroke, traffic accident or whatever. The best thing the covid enthusiasts could do now is get the disease now.

    Give them some horse paste, if they want it, and lock them in a room with an infected choir singing the hymnals of their particular religion.

    Let’s get this over with, rather than dragging it out. Just fucking get sick and die already.

    (Or get the vaccine… it’s safe, effective and free, but get off the fence)

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  25. Monala says:
  26. CSK says:

    @Monala:
    Wood’s been referred for disbarment by an Atlanta judge.

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  27. JKB says:

    On the other hand, the Washington Post reported September 7th:

    Afghan crisis wreaked havoc on Northern Virginia hospitals due to lack of federal planning, local officials say

    “[t]he mass arrival of Afghan evacuees last month, many in need of medical care, wreaked havoc on Northern Virginia’s hospital system — prompting a regional emergency response group to assume oversight after one hospital became overwhelmed with patients and federal officials lost track of where some Afghans were hospitalized, officials said.”

    “a hospital near the Dulles Expo Center that federal officials designated as a go-to spot for medical treatment began running out of available beds, forcing the hospital to turn away non-Afghan patients who weren’t in need of critical care, said Nickerson, who also directs the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance and declined to name the hospital.”

    But at least for COVID the question is why 20 months in bed capacity hasn’t been expanded instead of continuing the hospital and ICU bed capacity limits imposed by government licensing. Or why hospitals are firing workers over vaccination creating an artificial capacity reduction. Sure, they may want the nurses vaccinated, but the staff shortage is being caused not due to COVID cases but rather government/employer actions to drive off workers.

    And this happened to a friend’s father in law, tested for COVID but was refused at several ICUs last Fall, mostly due to his other medical issues. It seems hospitals are reluctant to take on many elderly patients expected to become long term ICU hospice cases

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  28. Jon says:

    @CSK: Also Michigan!

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  29. CSK says:

    @Jon:
    No doubt he’s terrified he couldn’t pass the psych evaluation Georgia wants him to take.

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  30. wr says:

    @JKB: Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.

    I mean, as long as you insist on spouting gobbledygook to distract from the obvious, and yet for you inconvenient truth, you might as well make it entertaining. All this breathless “butwhataboutbutwhataboutbutwhatabout” really isn’t fooling anyone but you.

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  31. Tony W says:

    This has always been a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

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  32. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Building and running an ICU takes $$$. It takes even more $$$ when you realise you’re going to need typically one nurse per additional patient, and since nurses can’t work 24 hours a day you need to hire even more new nurses per additional ICU patient.

    So who’s going to pay for that?

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  33. Jax says:

    @JKB: I’m not sure what your point was with the hospital and Afghan’s needing medical care unless it was an attempt at some sort of “me first” mentality, but in regards to the rest….

    Yeah, I mean, who would’ve guessed, TWENTY MONTHS IN, that an entire subset of the population would decline the free vaccines that could save their lives, and instead lead to an even higher demand for hospital beds than previous surges.

    You’re right, JKB, nobody ever would’ve guessed they could be that stupid and we would need MORE hospital beds. You got sooooo close to the point, but then veered off to try to blame someone, anyone, except the unvaccinated, for the lack of hospital beds.

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  34. Jen says:

    @JKB:

    But at least for COVID the question is why 20 months in bed capacity hasn’t been expanded

    Are you serious? You do realize that ICU beds aren’t a matter of setting up a cot in the hallway, right? There’s a raft of requirements that *make* it an ICU bed, including higher staff to patient ratios AND equipment…are you suggesting that hospitals spend millions of dollars to accommodate the unvaccinated, when VACCINES ARE FREE AND WIDELY AVAILABLE??

    Is that smart spending? Is that the recommendation of a fiscal conservative?

    And hospitals are firing unvaccinated workers because they are a danger to themselves and patients, AND if the hospital is receiving federal funding, they will lose said funds if they have unvaccinated staff.

    Is it too much to ask that you do a teeny, tiny bit of research to answer your questions first?

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  35. Jax says:

    @Jen: He was damn near there on connecting the dots, too, but right there at the edge he had to veer off because of the cognitive dissonance.

    Why didn’t we increase hospital bed capacity?! Because we didn’t know people would be this willing to die to own the libz!

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  36. Kathy says:

    @JKB:

    TL; DR Was it worth crawling out from under your rock to make an ass of yourself in this manner?

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  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Why this isn’t being hung around every single Republican’s neck is beyond me.

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  38. Pete S says:

    The situation in Southern Ontario is not remotely as dire as in the US, particularly the southern US. Our daily case counts are running at about 600-800 most days in a population of just over 14 milion, which we are still taking seriously because last year at the same time we were around 100 per day. Over 75% of our population is fully vaccinated.

    So what are the anti mask anti vaxx morons doing now? Protesting at hospitals. Not at vaccine clinics, not at government offices. It is like they have collectively decided “I hold an idiotic set of beliefs, how can I make myself look even stupider and not accomplish a damn thing?”. Why protest at the hospitals? Do they want the hospitals to stop treating their idiotic antivax comrades? because if that ever goes out for a vote it could pass

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  39. Mikey says:

    This afternoon in Florida the execrable governor had a news conference wherein some numpty got up to the lectern and from behind the seal of the Governor of Florida said the mRNA vaccines “change your RNA.”

    This is, of course, utter screaming bullshit.

    After allowing said numpty to speak, DeSantis returned to the lectern and just went on to the next order of business, letting the numpty’s lie go unchallenged.

    So my question is, who’s the greater numpty, the numpty who lies or the numpty who lets the lie go by?

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  40. EddieInCA says:

    Alot of anti-vaxxers are going to get the jab once it becomes a matter of getting jabbed and making rent, or not getting jabbed, and not making rent.

    At Warner Media, the un-vaccinated rate has dropped more than 50% since they instituted the mandate. Some steadfast anti-vaxxers decided their $45/hr job was more important than owning the libs.

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  41. Monala says:

    @EddieInCA: across the board, companies are finding this to be true. I posted a Twitter thread from David Frum listing numerous examples in Monday’s Open Forum.

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  42. steve says:

    “But at least for COVID the question is why 20 months in bed capacity hasn’t been expanded instead of continuing the hospital and ICU bed capacity limits imposed by government licensing.”

    I dont know the rules for every state but in ours there really isn’t an ICU capacity limit regulated by the government. Hospitals decide how many ICU beds they need then build them. They have to meet state guidelines and rules when built. Besides which the state has granted emergency exemptions for needing any inspections before opening ICU beds. The real limit is staff anyway. If you actually read about bed shortages a lot, probably most, of the problem is lack of staff. Most smaller hospitals have limited ICU capability and rely upon having pts who need only short term care. Mom too that is because they just dont have the staff. A small hospital might have only 2-3 nurses who are really ICU capable. (I do this for a living so these are real numbers from real hospitals.)

    Steve

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: Have you gotten vaccinated or infected yet? Are you contributing to herd immunity yet?

    Because you could be helping the situation resolve itself. I hear covid isn’t a big deal, and that the ivermectin tastes like apple jacks.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax:

    We lost a gal in her mid-30’s to COVID last week, and there are SO MANY Covidiots on her Facebook page mourning her loss while posting memes about never taking the vaccine.

    Did they not do connect the dots puzzles when they were children? Were they like friends of mine who connected the dots in random order so that the puppy or whatever looked like a Jackson Pollock painting? What’s going on.

    (And I watched a video with some art students a year or so ago on one of my substituting days. Once you hear the explanation of what the famous painting was, you can actually see the four or five people in it. The power of suggestion on that is amazing.)

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott F.: “When Lindsey Graham said, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed…….and we will deserve it,” he was right. Most of us knew he was right. We just hoped the destruction would be limited to the GOP.”

    And yet, once FG became the nominee and over the course of the ensuing 4 years, that very same Lindsey Graham became FG’s most ardent Senate booster, arguably. It’s time to realize that Senator Graham speaks out of a sense of opportunity cost benefit. Whatever he says on any given day means nothing the nanosecond after his vocal cords stop vibrating.

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: ROFLMAO!!!!

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  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: I TRUST JKB on this one. I’m sure that he would have done research on this except he couldn’t find the extensive journals that Ludwig von Mies absolutely MUST have written during the 1918 influenza epidemic. I feel his frustration though; those journals are said to be hard to come by. Maybe he was still waiting on an interlibrary loan and ran out of time.

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  48. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: You have more faith in him than I. I really wasn’t sure what that Afghan/medical care/lack of planning was all about other than I think he started out with “The got dam immigants is takin ar healthcare agin”, but then he got distracted by “got dammit, why hasn’t they built more got damn beds for da freedumb lubbers?!” 😉

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  49. Franklin says:

    @JKB: 20 YEARs in and not a single Republican figured out how to fix the crises in Afghanistan that they themselves created. So you’re attempting to blame the inevitable on the people trying to clean up their mess.

    Also, yes I fell for your distraction from the real issue.

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  50. David S. says:

    @JKB: Ha. As soon as I saw that one of the articles was about a pregnant person succumbing to COVID, I immediately scrolled down to see whether or not you had the gall to complain about the vaccine and fertility again.

    Go visit Afghanistan and rescue the country yourself.

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