Patients dying waiting for a hospital bed at Elkhart General Hospital

ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) – Elkhart General Hospital hit an all-time high in hospital stays just ten days into the New Year.

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

“We are only just hearing from some of these patients who have been waiting for very critical procedures to be performed, such as heart bypass surgery or valve replacement, who are dying. They didn’t die of COVID, but the pandemic really played a huge role in the deaths of these people and it’s really sad, “said Dr. Bache across from 16 News Now on Monday.

Until Monday morning, reports Dr. Bache, 33 people in the emergency room were waiting for a hospital bed.

As a result, operations are being canceled, the emergency room is full and so is the ICU, resulting in those without COVID having to wait hours, if not days, than they normally do.

“The emergency room is, to put it bluntly, really just a disaster at the moment. You can’t just walk through the areas. The patients who keep coming through our front door, who need to be examined and treated, occupy beds in the hallways, chairs, we try to see them in the waiting room. The waiting room is completely overcrowded. It’s just a disaster, ”explains Dr. Bache.

Most COVID patients at Elkhart General have, according to Dr. Batch major breathing difficulties, chest pain or pressure, or discover blood clots.

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

“In the long term, vaccinations will be the solution. Our goal is to reduce hospital stays and deaths. Nothing is more effective than vaccinations, ”says Dr. Bache.

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

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