Metro and nationwide COVID-19 spike taking toll on hospitals and physicians

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When smaller hospitals get overwhelmed, there’s a domino effect. One patient who couldn’t get the life-saving care she needed in Trenton, Missouri, while hospitals in the Kansas City metro are very concerned about capacity.

The metro is seeing the largest spike in new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started.

As more people get COVID-19 and open hospital beds become few and far between, doctors’ worries grow.

“There’s not a plateau in these graphs right now,” Dr. Marc Larsen said. He’s an Emergency Physician with St. Luke’s COVID Response Team.

St. Luke’s has more than 150 positive COVID-19 patients hospitalized right now.

Larsen said they’ve already pushed back a lot of deferrable surgeries to deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients.

“With the increased spike of people testing positive. Obviously, the concern is that then some of those will need hospitalization in the weeks to come,” Larsen said.

If number continue in the same trajectory and you or a loved one has a heart attack, or is injured in an accident, there may not be beds, staff or resources to treat you because it’s tied up with COVID-19 patients.

“If I had not gone to the doctor when I did, I might have died,” COVID patient Connie Olmstead said.

She spent weeks trying to survive COVID-19.

On the 10th day, her cold and flu like symptoms turned into Pneumonia. They rushed her the hospital in Trenton. Then, she was taken to St. Luke’s North where she eventually became septic.

“It was a horrible, horrible experience,” Olmstead said. “I’ve never been so sick in my life and I’m 65. I’ve never had that kind of sickness before and I sure don’t want to get it again.”

Olmstead worries others won’t get the same care because so many people are contracting the virus.

Dr. Greg Miller is the medical Director for hospitals in Trenton and Chillicothe.

He said they are only able to provide a certain level of care for COVID-19 patients based on space and resources.

“Then it becomes difficult because the metro hospitals are full also and running out of space,” Miller said. “So when we get to appoint where a patient needs to be transferred, we’re having a difficult time arranging that transfer.”

Olmstead urges people in rural and urban areas to follow the guidelines.

She know that peoples’ lives depend on it.

“I say wear the mask, spread the love and not the virus.”

Larsen said he especially worried about people getting lax with the guidelines around the holidays. He supports stricter mandates on masks, social distancing and public gatherings.

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