‘We’re stretched’: Tampa General doctors feeling tired, frustrated as more COVID-19 patients die each day

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With Florida being the epicenter of the latest coronavirus surge, health care professionals in Tampa Bay are struggling to keep up.

Tampa General Hospital is one of several area hospitals treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients.

And while patients fight to survive the virus, it’s also taking a toll on health care workers who have been battling COVID-19 for a year and a half.

“Emotionally, I think we’re all tired. Patients are dying every single day. There’s not much we can do about it,” said Dr. Jaimie Weber at Tampa General Hospital.

Dr. Weber works with COVID-19 patients and the doctors and nurses who care for them. She said that they expected to have their work cut out for them at the beginning of the summer, but were not prepared for how severe things would become with the delta variant spreading rapidly among the unvaccinated. In just four weeks, the hospital was forced to increase their COVID-19 care doctors from two primary providers to 14.

“It’s time-consuming. It’s emotionally stressful. The nurses are stretched. We’re stretched. The hospital is doing everything in their power to make sure we have the resources that we need, but this is far more patients than we expected,” said Dr. Weber.

In the past, doctors reported about one death every couple weeks. Now they have three to five patients dying every day.

“It’s a younger patient population generally. They come in. They’re doing ok, and then they just decompensate very quickly. We’re having to do a lot more ICU transfers this time and patients end up ventilated earlier than previously,” said Dr. Weber. “A lot of what we’re seeing now, it’s preventable, and it’s really difficult from a physician and a health care worker’s perspective. To come in every day and continue this work and understand that we could have prevented this.”

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