MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Springhill Medical Center in Mobile is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Hospital administration asked Nexstar station WKRG to show the public what they are dealing with, in hopes that people understand the struggle.
Many Gulf Coast hospitals are at a breaking point. Ambulances are lined up outside, it’s a waiting game just to get a bed, and the staff are overwhelmed.
“This is as bad as I’ve ever seen it,” pulmonologist Dr. James Dean said.
As patient after patient struggles to breathe, Amy Sprinkle’s 24-year-old daughter, Bailey Sigler, is on a ventilator.
“Bailey is a healthy 24-year-old girl She is now in ICU and it happened in a week, less than a week,” Sprinkle said.
With the Delta variant, the staff is seeing patients in crisis who are young. Young, like 24-year-old ER nurse, Matt Osborne, who’s been here for 3 weeks. He wishes he had gotten vaccinated.
“I was skeptical about the vaccine at first, but I would much rather have an extra boost to avoid situations like this,” Osborne said.
Osborn is expected to go home soon, but many here will not. The staff is struggling to help dozens who are desperate.
“They are literally suffocating, ” Nurse Manager Abby Wilson said.
She said patients are begging for help.
“Between breaths, they beg me for the vaccine,” Wilson said. “They beg me to save them. I just have to look at them and say, ‘It’s too late right now. We can’t right now, but you keep fighting.'”
Out of the 102 patients in SHMC, only seven were vaccinated. Dean adds that those who are vaccinated will have a much better outcome.
“No one is going to avoid this,” he said. “At this point, you can either be vaccinated or you can take your chance, which is like playing Russian roulette. It’s difficult for us to watch and see and deal with knowing there is a simple answer to it. All that would have to happen is these people were vaccinated. They would not be going through this right now.”
Springhill’s CEO Jeff St. Clair said the entire healthcare system is stressed.
“We are stressed everywhere,” St. Clair said. “Overflow areas are full. The recovery room is now a makeshift ICU. The Emergency Room is an inpatient ICU. Staffing is an issue. Manpower is an issue. The supply chain is an issue. We are stressed at every point.”
Meanwhile, Sprinkle is praising the medical team caring for her daughter at Springhill.
“These people at Springhill, they love her, and it shows in the care they are giving her,” she said. “I think she is going to make it.”
“Get the vaccine, 100 percent,” Sprinkle added.