▶️ Couple explains how overcrowded hospitals lead to surgery delays


Peter Schneider’s wife, Susie, is one of many people in the Central Oregon area who are waiting for surgery as St. Charles tends to 15 Intensive Care Unit COVID-19 patients.

13 of those in the ICU are not fully vaccinated, and Schneider is sick of folks refusing the vaccine.

“Everybody has to suffer because of them,” said Schneider.

Schneider’s wife, Susie, had a spinal stenosis — a spine clearing procedure — in May.

She needs a follow-up surgery, but overcrowded hospitals pushed her procedure to early 2022.

The postponement is tough for Susie in many ways, and she currently suffers with excruciating nerve pain.

“So you have pain from the nerves, things being pinched, and also that affects your feet so you can’t, your mind and your body don’t agree,” said Schneider.

ICU beds are needed to approve surgeries in case patients need overnight care.

Due to overcrowding of COVID patients, St. Charles must make decisions with about 4,000 folks in line for procedures.

“The bottom line is basically that our surgeons keep a case list of their patients, and who is the most urgently needing surgery,” said Doctor Doug Merrilll, the Chief Medical Officer for St. Charles. “So, when that call goes to them and they hear, ‘Oh my gosh, we can do another patient, or two patients, tomorrow. More than we thought, they will call those patients.”

Schneider doesn’t blame the hospital for his wife’s prolonged wait, but emphasizes how hard life is without that procedure.

“She has that pain if she doesn’t do things just right. So, it’s hard to get up and down. We can’t go to church because, you know in church, you have to get up and down and up and down,” said Schneider.

He said that his wife can only walk up to an eighth of a mile due to her nerve pain.

For others wanting surgery, the wait makes things worse.

“Oh, I feel absolutely certain, you know, that patients who were supposed to have cardiac procedures or potentially even cancer procedures have been greatly harmed and may have even died because they couldn’t get surgery in a timely fashion,” said Doctor Merrill.

For some, they just hope the problem gets solved soon.

“I just don’t know what the solution is,” said Schneider.

Doctor Merrill told us that it is on the community to get the vaccine so cases like Susie’s are helped.


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