We have a huge unvaccinated population. ... The public trusts us when they have a heart attack, cancer, or when they get sick, and they trust us to provide care. I don’t know why they are not trusting us when we tell them to get vaccinated and wear a mask. — Cameron Mantor, acting medical director for OU Health hospitals
We have a huge unvaccinated population. ... The public trusts us when they have a heart attack, cancer, or when they get sick, and they trust us to provide care. I don’t know why they are not trusting us when we tell them to get vaccinated and wear a mask. — Cameron Mantor, acting medical director for OU Health hospitals
Oklahoma nurses and doctors beg unvaccinated to help stressed ICUs: ‘I have zipped up too many body bags’
Exhausted nurses are pleading with the unvaccinated in Oklahoma to do their part as the state faces a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations that is forcing officials to expedite medical licenses to increase the number of front-line workers.

At SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, 18 covid-19 patients lacked beds Tuesday and were being treated on mattresses on the floor of the ICU, with more than half of them on ventilators, reported KFOR-TV. Amy Petitt, an ICU charge nurse at the hospital, fought through tears during a tour of a hospital pushed to its limits by the highly transmissible delta variant. Ninety percent of the 79 covid patients in St. Anthony’s ICU are unvaccinated, Tammy Powell, president of the hospital, told The Washington Post.

“In our hospital’s 123-year history, we have not seen a single diagnosis impact the resources available for others in such a significant way,” Powell said in a statement.

Petitt told the Oklahoman newspaper that the latest wave of the pandemic has brought a sense of helplessness to the nurses and doctors at St. Anthony, who are “barely hanging on,” and that the dire situation “feels like we’re back to where we were less than a year ago.” Petitt’s message to those who remain hesitant about getting vaccinated: “Don’t let it be your family member dying or getting put on a ventilator to change your mind about the vaccine.”

“The strain on our hospital is a lot, and it’s not sustainable,” Petitt told KFOR. “So, we need our community to help us. We need people to get vaccinated.”

She added, “I have zipped up too many body bags. We’ve seen way too many people die over the last year and a half.”

The plea from Petitt and her colleagues came the same day the Oklahoma Department of Health announced that more than 9,000 people in the state have died of covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Oklahoma reported nearly 1,800 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, and the state’s seven-day average for new infections is 2,246, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.

More than 1,650 people are hospitalized for covid-19, including 431 in an ICU. The number of hospitalizations in Oklahoma is about what it was in December 2020 and January, when vaccines were not widely available, said David Chansolme, an infectious-disease expert and the medical director of infection prevention for Integris Health, the state’s largest hospital network. State health officials said 64 children are hospitalized because of covid-19.

Less than 43 percent of the state is fully vaccinated.

Cameron Mantor, acting medical director for OU Health hospitals, told The Post that there were no available ICU beds in central Oklahoma, home to a majority of the state’s hospitals. Mantor noted that staffing has been tight across the state during a surge in which the great majority of covid patients are unvaccinated.

“We have a huge unvaccinated population,” Mantor said. “We’re really in a bad spot due to our population still allowing this to be a political problem. The public trusts us when they have a heart attack, cancer, or when they get sick, and they trust us to provide care. I don’t know why they are not trusting us when we tell them to get vaccinated and wear a mask.” Mary Clarke, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, noted to local media that some Oklahomans are choosing ivermectin to treat or prevent infection. Commonly used to treat parasites in animals, ivermectin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat several forms of parasitic worms found in people. But the FDA and health officials have warned for months against using the drug to treat the coronavirus, saying its use can “cause serious harm.” Clarke echoed the FDA’s plea not to take the livestock dewormer for covid-19 and stressed that the vaccines are working in Oklahoma.
Read the full article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/25/oklahoma-nurses-icu-covid-unvaccinated/