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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Omicron surge undermines treatment for other health problems

Roger Struckhoff was being treated for intestinal bleeding at a hospital outside of Chicago this month when he suffered a mild heart attack.

Normally, a 67-year-old man would be sent to intensive care. But Struhoff said he was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and instead staff had to bring a heart monitor into his room and quickly inject nitroglycerin and morphine.

“A doctor I know pretty well said, ‘Roger, we’re going to have to improvise right here,'” said Struckhoff, who lives in DeKalb, Illinois.

This winter’s omicron surge has not only flooded U.S. hospitals with a record number of COVID-19 patients, but has also caused frightening moments and severe headaches for people trying to get treated for other illnesses.

Less urgent procedures, such as cochlear implant surgeries and steroid injections for rheumatoid arthritis, have been suspended across the country. And people with all sorts of medical complaints had to wait in emergency rooms for several hours longer than usual.

Mat Gleason said he took his 92-year-old father Eugene Gleason to an emergency room in the Los Angeles area last week for a blood transfusion to treat a blood disorder. It was supposed to take seven to ten hours, according to Gleason, but his father was there for 48 hours.

He said that his father called him 10 hours later and asked for a blanket.

“He later told me, ‘I just thought they forgot about me,’” said Gleason, 57, who works as an art critic. “And yet he wasn’t the only person in that room. There were dozens of people there.” But Gleason added: “I don’t feel sorry for the hospital at all. They did a great job.”

As of Tuesday, an average of almost 144,000 people were in U.S. hospitals with COVID-19, the highest number on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals in several states, such as New York and Connecticut, which experienced an early spike in umicron load, are seeing a decrease in patient load, but many other places are overwhelmed.

Hospitals say COVID-19 patients are not as sick as they were during the last wave. And many of them are hospitalized for reasons other than COVID-19 and only accidentally test positive for the virus.

Rick Pollack, CEO and president of the American Hospital Association, said the surge has had a broad impact on the availability of care for people who have health issues unrelated to COVID-19. He said a number of factors are at work: more people are in hospitals and a large number of healthcare workers have left with COVID-19, exacerbating the shortage of staff that existed long before the pandemic.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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