Doctors: Nursing staff is tired | northwest

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Despite staff shortages and patient stresses two to three times the normal rate, Doctors in the Pullman area said they are doing everything in their power to keep up with the increased medical demand caused by COVID-19.

Health care workers are getting tired and exhausted,” said Dr. Stephanie Fosback, an internal medicine doctor at Pullman Regional Hospital, during an online briefing Tuesday. “It feels like a week doesn’t (goes by) in which we don’t have a farewell barbecue for the employees. … That doesn’t mean we won’t show up for you. We’ll keep showing up for people, but we’re tired. “

Fosback and a panel of four other doctors discussed their challenges and concerns about the ongoing pandemic, including the number of people refusing to be vaccinated, during the briefing.

Idaho Governor Brad Little said during an online question-and-answer session later in the day he believes his rejection of a vaccine mandate could contribute to the small number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Peter Mikkelsen, director of emergency medicine at Pullman Hospital, said the staff there is treating more patients than ever before.

“We are open to business,” said Mikkelsen. “We take care of everyone, but we’re really tested for the number of patients we can see.”

Washington State has yet to put in place the critical standards of care guidelines that affect many Idaho hospitals. Even so, in many cases medical staff are forced to prioritize patients based on the degree of illness and the number of available labor.

Mikkelsen said most COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized are unvaccinated.

Vaccines, Fosback said, will help people avoid COVID-19 and, if they develop symptoms, have milder cases and stay out of the hospital.

“One thing that is hard to talk about,” she said, “(is) your vaccine affects the whole community. Your vaccine will keep the person behind you (in a grocery store or elsewhere) who may have had chemotherapy for breast cancer safe. … Because it’s important; it is important for all of us. “

Dr. Sunday D. Henry spoke about a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment and whose immune system was weakened. There are people around this woman, said Henry, who refuse to be vaccinated, and that worries them.

When the vaccine hit the market in December, she believed it could mark the end of the pandemic.

But now: “It hurts my soul that we are now questioning it because people get sick during the vaccination. But we keep people out of the hospital. It’s not perfect, but it’s really very good.

“I think vaccines could be one of the best medical inventions out there,” Henry continued. “Neither of us would recommend something that we don’t trust. We didn’t go to medical school to be controlled by the government or anyone else. We went to medical school to look after the patients as best we could. “

Dr. Katie Hryniewicz, a Pullman pediatrician, said the number of cases is escalating across the country in children who are too young to receive the vaccine.

Hryniewicz says more and more children are being hospitalized with COVID-19, and over the past 18 months she has treated increasing cases of eating disorders, depression and anxiety in children.

“This pandemic is ongoing; it feels like it’s going on, ”said Hryniewicz. “And that alone has a great, lasting impact on our children.”

This also includes the disruption of everyday school life, which has been going on since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hryniewicz said her clinic’s patient volume has doubled in the past 18 months, affecting its ability to care for healthy patients, children with chronic diseases, as well as COVID-19 patients.

“I think the best way we can help our children is to do everything we can to get out of this pandemic,” she said.

Mikkelsen noted that due to a lack of hospital beds and other pressures on the medical community, some people postpone seeking help with conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

He acknowledged that the demand from sick patients exceeded the care that can be provided, and “We really haven’t seen that in our careers. I don’t think anyone in healthcare has seen anything like this at the moment. “

In Idaho, Little attended the AARP-organized social media question-and-answer session with Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen.

Like the Pullman doctors, Little noted the stress the pandemic was putting on health care workers and urged people to reach out to health care providers and thank them. There is hardly anyone in the state who is not under stress. “

When asked by a viewer whether he believed his rejection of a vaccination mandate might contribute to the high infection rates in Idaho, Little replied, “Yes. That is my short answer. … We continue to do everything we can to encourage people. “

Despite his concerns, the governor said he believes mandates have not been successful in places where they have been tried and that the best way to increase vaccine numbers is to encourage people to “do what is right “.

Vaccination cards, Little says, can be forged easily.

“People have to want to do the right things,” he said. “Mandates were not a panacea. It works best when people choose to do the right thing. “

He said those who are reluctant to vaccinate should speak to people they trust to help them make decisions.

“I urge people to turn to people they have complete confidence in (e.g. medical experts) to further increase our vaccination rate,” he said. “The vaccine also works with the new variants. We will keep beating this drum. “

When asked how to address staff shortages in long-term health and memory care facilities, Little found that the state is allocating $ 18 million to pay workers.

“We know it’s expensive,” he said. “We know it’s a challenge. And given the high accident rate (in nursing homes), we made additional funds available to them. These are some of the most difficult human resource facilities we have in the state. “

Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported by Public Health on Tuesday – Idaho North Central District and Asotin County. Two men, both in their 60s, one from Lewis County and the other from Idaho County, died from the virus. An Asotin County woman, aged 60 to 80, also died.

Regionally, 58 new infections were reported Tuesday – 15 in Lewis County, 24 in Clearwater County, 26 in Idaho County, 24 in Latah County and 84 in Nez Perce County.

Whitman County had 42 new cases; Asotin County has 18 new cases, for a 14-day count of 215. As of September, Asotin County had five hospital admissions and 59 breakthrough cases to date. Garfield County added an infection on Tuesday.


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