Healthcare workers at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida hear panic, fear and regret from many of their patients as increasing numbers are admitted with complications from Covid-19 – and as many need to be put on a ventilator.
“We’re getting ready to intubate the patient, which means putting him on a ventilator, and they said, ‘If I get the vaccine now, can’t I use the ventilator? So they’re begging him, ”Head Nurse Tammy Daniel told CNN. “They are desperate because they lack air, they cannot breathe, they are afraid, they feel like they are going to die. ”
But by then, they are too late for a vaccine to stop their infection.
The Baptist Medical Center has seen its number of Covid-19 patients multiply every day, Daniel said. “We can’t open the beds fast enough to meet demand,” she said.
Florida is one of 32 states to have seen the average number of new cases in the past seven days increase by more than 50% from the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But it’s one of only two states in which every county in the state is listed as having high transmission of Covid-19.
The climb is overwhelming Baptist Medical Center, where 389 patients are being treated for Covid-19 – an increase of about 50% from a week ago. Of the new patients, 83 are on ventilators and are struggling to survive.
More than 99% of these patients are unvaccinated and the average age is around 50, said Michael Mayo, CEO of Baptist Health.
Dr. Michelle Aquino said many of the patients who get very sick are young.
Last week, she admitted a 19-year-old and a 25-year-old for Covid-19, both in perfect health before their infections, she said.
“So you see these healthy people walking around saying I don’t need a vaccine, I’m fine if I catch Covid, everything will be fine and that’s not true. With the Delta variant, we really see that this is not true, ”said Aquino.
Head Nurse Tammy Daniel speaks with CNN at Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida.
Some patients said they were more concerned about the vaccines than the disease. Now they say they regret not having been vaccinated earlier.
This fear of vaccines is particularly frustrating, Aquino said, as there is still no meaningful and foolproof treatment for Covid-19.
“When patients arrive, we are very honest with them. We say this is largely the case, we think it will help, we are not sure it will help, it might help, we hope it will help, but we are not sure and you are taking it day by day. day, ”Aquino said. .
Everyone at Baptist Medical Center has lost patients to the virus in recent weeks, Aquino said, which has been emotionally trying for staff who know most of these deaths could have been prevented.