JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve heard the warnings about trying to avoid overloading the healthcare system for months. But a group of doctors from around Mississippi want you to understand that it’s no longer predictions, rather reality.
“We kind of saw a storm off in the distance a bit,” said Dr. Alan Jones, UMMC Asst. Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs. “As of today, we feel like we are right in the eye of the storm.”
“Right now, the diagnosis is, our state is sick and what we’re doing now it’s not working,” noted President of the Mississippi State Medical Association Dr. Clay Hays.
The group says they’ve watched the trends with cases and deaths going up and they’re living the reality of what it’s like to have increased hospitalizations.
“Although COVID-19 is in the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, other diseases have not taken a backseat during this pandemic,” explained Dr. Ustav Nandi, President-Elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
“I was woken up by a phone call yesterday morning at 4 a.m. because we had so many patients at our hospital, we didn’t know where else to put them,” added Dr. Jones.
“There’s nowhere to send them,” described State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “We’re sending people out of state all the time because Mississippi hospitals cannot take care of Mississippi patients.”
And it’s not an isolated issue.
“Yesterday, five of our biggest hospitals in the state had zero ICU beds,” Dobbs said. “Zero. An additional four had 5% or less. An additional three had less than 10%.”
Doctors admit that their staffs are tired and resources are stretched thin. They aren’t going anywhere but they are asking you to join in the fight.
“Things are not normal,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC Vice Chancellor and Dean of School of Medicine. “We are in the middle of a pandemic. Things are not normal and we cannot behave as if they are.”
The University of Mississippi Medical Center has already had to turn down transfers. That includes COVID-19 patients but also others. That’s significant because they are the state’s only level one trauma center.