Low bed capacity causing local hospitals to turn people away

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- While Louisiana is facing what some medical officials are calling the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” hospitals are exhausting their resources during the state’s fourth surge. 

“It is absolutely a very challenging and ongoing situation, there’s no end in sight,” said CEO Warner Thomas. 

Chief medical officer Robert Hart says Ochsner Health is experiencing a bed shortage, an issue that has a domino effect on the hospital’s health system.

“In the past 10 days we’ve had to turn away patients that needed to be transferred for a higher level of care, we just could not take them,” said Thomas.

Bed capacity in the hospital is being stretched, leaving little room for other people seeking medical attention.

The hospital is being forced to delay care to people who are scheduled for elective procedures that would otherwise require them to stay overnight.

“We have 160 patients at our largest facility at Jefferson Highway, 160 patients just with Covid, so that’s 160 places that other non-covid patients would be,” said Dr. Katherine Baumgarten.

With the number of hospitalizations rising at a rate higher than before, Ochsner health officials say delaying care is happening every day. 

“We’re in a very different position today than we were in surge one, we maxed out at about 1,050 patients surge one and we’re almost at 900 today,” said CEO Warner Thomas

Medical professionals stress that the overcrowding of the emergency room puts a toll on hospitals and medical staff.

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