Hospitals across the state are still experiencing high patient volumes due to the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, and some virus-free patients have to wait for major procedures.
At Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Dr Adam Bergeson, orthopedic surgeon and medical director of surgical services, said last week a patient with a brain tumor had to wait a day or two for surgery. until an intensive care bed is available.
Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital saw a heart patient die while awaiting a life-saving procedure. Another patient with an acute hernia and foot drop is still awaiting surgery, said Dr. Edward Prince, orthopedic surgeon and medical director of surgical services at St. George Regional.
“Cardiovascular surgery usually requires a stay in intensive care, things like heart valve replacement and bypass surgery. You can live well for a while with 80% occlusion, but the longer you wait, the higher your risk of having a stroke, ”Prince said. “When you start delaying some of these procedures, you start to see significant unwanted issues which now turn into urgent cases.”
Prince said patients who stayed in hospital for two to three days to recover are now sent home the same day of their operation.
“The data is pretty clear: the majority of patients who come to the hospital are unvaccinated patients. I think there’s a lot of political stuff going on and everyone has their own choice to make their own decision, so number one make your own decision for what’s good for you, but number two start thinking about the community in general. Think about your grandmother or relative who might need one of these procedures but cannot get it because of your negative opinion of the vaccine. Just get it. “
Dr Eddie Stenehjem, infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare, said the data clearly indicates that vaccines are safe and effective and people should seriously consider getting vaccinated.
“We are now in a very different time than we were in last March and April, where there were a handful of vaccine studies and our experience was not significant,” he said. “Fast forward to now where we can say that vaccines have been so heavily studied. We know the safety profile and can feel very comfortable being able to talk about side effects and rare adverse events in the first two months. We can absolutely support them and say that this is a safe vaccine that prevents death and keeps communities and hospitals safe. “
Stenehjem said he did not see the rapid drop in COVID-19 he was hoping to see. However, he hopes the state has a better winter due to natural immunity and vaccination rates.
“Right now, I think we are in a period of stability where our hospitals are completely full, our intensive care units are at their maximum capacity and we are still seeing a very significant number of COVID cases in our hospitals,” he said. he declared. “The majority of hospitalized patients are not vaccinated, between 80 and 90% and 20% are vaccinated but have comorbidities. “
Stenehjem also said it was important for eligible people to receive their booster shots as soon as possible. If you’re six months away from your primary series, you can get the Pfizer or Moderna booster if you’re 65 and over, 18 to 65 with complicated medical conditions, or working in a high-risk environment. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you only have to wait two months to receive the booster. You can also now mix and match vaccines according to the CDC, but Stenehjem said if possible, he recommends getting the booster from the same drug company that you received your original injections.
As the holiday season approaches, all three doctors agreed it was important to continue to take safety precautions. For example, if you have a family reunion and some members are not vaccinated, you can ask them not to attend – which is the extreme case – or ask them to test negative 48 hours before the event. .
“You have to think about the risk of potential transmission,” Stenehjem said. “If someone is symptomatic, they shouldn’t join the family reunion.”