Since the beginning of August, Nelson and its surrounding communities have seen an exponential upsurge in COVID-19 cases. Our ICU is overcapacity, our hospital is full, our emergency department is seeing record daily visits, and our testing site can’t keep up with daily demand. Almost all local patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 have been unvaccinated.
My work as a family doc in this town has consequently become much more challenging. Today, typical of most days this past month, I started early and finished late. In addition to countless other encounters, I attempted to get an unvaccinated 23-year-old woman with worsening COVID-19 to the ICU, but failed because all the ventilators are in use. I called a patient to tell her that her aneurysm surgery has been indefinitely postponed because the hospital has no more capacity. I started an ordinarily resilient and vivacious patient on antidepressants, because after 18 months of trying to remain optimistic about his future, he is sinking. I witnessed a member of our clinic staff being verbally abused by an irate and indignant patient, offended at our clinic’s mask policy. I was asked to write a “medical exemption” letter for a patient with no significant medical condition. I attempted to reassure a pregnant mother, terrified about delivering in our COVID-positive hospital. I cancelled a planned house call (for the second time) with a bed-bound stroke victim, who wanted to discuss Medical Assistance in Dying, because I got called back to hospital at the end of my clinic day.
We have, in vaccines, a tool to put an end to all of this…I implore the unvaccinated citizens of our community, and similar communities elsewhere, to step up and do the right thing.
Read the full article in The Globe & Mail.
Dr Kevin McKechnie is family physician in Nelson, BC.
Photo credit: Adrian Wagner Studio
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