On January 3, 2021, a doctor examines the vital signs of a patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center Tarzana, California. Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
After there weren't enough ICU beds available, a 69-year old Oklahoma man died from COVID-19.
Johnnie Novotny had developed a hemorhage while in hospital and was required to be transferred to an ICU bed to undergo a surgery.
In four states, forty hospitals said that they didn't have an ICU bed available for him.
Oklahoma doctors called dozens hospitals to locate an ICU bed for a COVID-19-positive 69-year old man.
According to the Washington Post, of the 40 hospitals they called they could not find one.
Johnnie Novotny suffered a hematoma during COVID-19 hospitalization. Doctors raced to locate an ICU bed that could offer Johnnie Novotny more specialized care than what the hospital could provide.
The Post reported that Novotny started feeling more anxious as Matthew Payne, his doctor made calls to hospitals nearby and far away. He panicked and tried to remove the tubes from his body. According to the Post, he was feeling hopeless and lonely.
Payne and the other doctors at Stillwater Medical Center, Oklahoma realized that they didn't have a specialist who could treat his hematoma.
They were given 48 hours to locate an ICU bed at a hospital that had a qualified doctor to perform the operation. The Post reported that Novotny would have died if he had not been transferred.
Payne explained to the Post that it felt like you were on an island and that no one is looking to send search-and rescue planes to save your life. "The case managers are throwing messages around in a bottle and no one is there for them to pick up," Payne told the Post.
Payne and other doctors expanded their search by calling Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas hospitals. Novotny's blood pressure dropped as they didn't get any response from each hospital. According to the Post, Novotny's hematoma was swelling and doctors had run out of time to save him.
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Familie members hoped for a miracle.
However, every hospital they called in four states told them they couldn't take Novotny.
Payne stated that they were desperate and hoped against hope that something would change. You basically need to be the dream-stealer, telling them that this isn’t working, and it is really hopeless. We cannot get him out."
Novotny, an unvaccinated person, died August 8.
Many Oklahoma hospitals have been experiencing staff and resource shortages for months as they struggle to cope with the influx of COVID-19 patients. The Delta variant quickly spread across Oklahoma, resulting in an unprecedented increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, 48% of Oklahoma's population are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
Business Insider has the original article.