Unvaccinated COVID patients in Kelowna taking toll on nurses, planned surgeries: Nurse | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Unvaccinated COVID patients in Kelowna taking toll on nurses, planned surgeries: Nurse

A nurse at Kelowna General Hospital reports feeling overwhelmed and overworked as Covid-19 patients put increased pressure on the health system.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ shutterstock.com
August 12, 2021 - 7:00 AM

A licensed practical nurse at Kelowna General Hospital says the hospital system is currently overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, and some people are not receiving treatment because of a lack of available beds.

She works in a surgical unit where she says she is seeing repercussions of an overload of COVID-19 patients every day. She was granted anonymity for this story because of the high likelihood she could lose her job as a repercussion for speaking publicly.

“We take precautions not to spread the virus and sometimes have to operate on COVID-19 patients," she said. "Two years ago, for a couple months, we didn't do any surgeries to prepare for a wave and now there is another wave. We are only doing day care procedures to reduce people needing beds, as beds are being taken up by COVID patients now. Someone needing a joint replacement or cancer removed is having to wait because the hospital is overwhelmed. Also if a trauma comes in we may not have an ICU bed or someone may have to decide who gets one over someone else.”

        READ MORE: Elective surgeries rescheduled in Kelowna because of Central Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The nurse says she has been working short staffed almost every day which means more work and often no breaks, leading to feelings of stress and overload on workers.

“It runs on the hearts and backs of healthcare workers when we find out a patient was positive for the virus but we didn’t know at the time,” she said. “We worry about spreading it unknowingly to family or friends. We hope we have the right information and supplies but things are changing because no one has ever done this before. The hospital is making every effort not to cancel people but if there are no beds, there are no beds. This could have been avoided if people were vaccinated.”

A social media posting by a Kelowna Oncologist yesterday said one of his patients had a pancreaticoduodenectomy cancelled because of a lack of beds. That procedure treats tumours and other disorders of the pancreas, intestine and bile duct.

“Our hospital is swamped with COVID patients, almost entirely unvaccinated,” he wrote. He did not want to comment directly to iNFOnews.ca.

“Kelowna General Hospital is currently supporting a higher number of COVID-19 positive patients due to the Central Okanagan outbreak,” Interior Health said in an email to iNFOnews.ca. “Some elective surgeries have been rescheduled to manage capacity at the hospital.
“The majority of people in hospital with COVID-19 are young adults who are not fully immunized. The hospital is safe for appointments or emergency care. Please continue with any scheduled procedures.”

As of Aug. 9, there were 27 Interior Health residents in hospital with the virus and of those, 10 were in intensive care, according the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website.


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