Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 epidemic, there have been many issues that have arisen in regard to local hospitals and healthcare facilities. A consistent issue is that U.S. hospitals are being forced to ration health care and treatment to patients, which, in the middle of a health emergency, is disastrous. Hospital rooms around the country were quickly filled up, as it seems they were totally unprepared for a pandemic of this severity, leading to some patients dying while waiting for medical attention.
According to research collected by Vox News: “One in four people over 18 still haven’t received any dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and younger age cohorts have lower vaccination rates than their elders. As a result, there has been a shift in who’s being hospitalized: People over 65 made up more than half of hospitalizations in December and January; now they are about a third. Children under 12 still are not eligible for the vaccines, and pediatric hospitals are seeing their highest number of COVID-19 patients ever.”
This data collection demonstrates that, on top of the nation’s medical institutions being unprepared for a pandemic, low vaccination rates among younger people is now causing greater numbers of younger adults to be hospitalized than the elderly. This trend has kept our hospitals packed and waits for patients to grow evermore, causing more problems for those who need treatment. Hospitals today are being pushed into a corner due to these overwhelming infection rates, and are now having to make tough decisions. They are forced to turn away patients to treat those of seniority based on the severity of their situation. These turnaways are a common issue that remained present throughout the entirety of the pandemic and it looks as though it will not fade away anytime soon. A recent example of this occurring can be shown in a Washington Post article referenced in the Vox research that “reported that a 73-year-old Alabama man died of a cardiac emergency after being turned away from more than 40 hospitals. The closest hospital that would take him was 200 miles away in Mississippi. Alabama is currently experiencing the second-most COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita in the nation.” In a system that actively denies vulnerable members of our population treatment, and where organized healthcare runs rampant in both our communities and institutions, it is hard to have faith in the way things are being run.
With proper funding and support by our government, local and small hospitals will receive funds in order to expand their treatment centers and COVID-19 treatment equipment so that all communities have proper health care support in case of emergencies. If anything, this pandemic should be a wake up call to our country that we desperately need to organize and support our medical system so that we can be prepared for any situation. With this change, we will not only be saving those infected, but preventing these pandemics from getting more and more out of control, solving the issue at its source.
Washington Post Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/09/12/alabama-ray-demonia-hospitals-icu/
Zach Veltri is a fourth-year Political Science major with a minor in Journalism. ZV914332@wcupa.edu