A Florida hospital was forced to turn away a patient in need of cancer treatment due to the “tremendous” number of COVID-19 patients occupying beds, a doctor said.
Tampa Oncology and Proton Medical Director Dr. Nitesh Paryani said that the patient had sought to be transferred there, but for the first time, they couldn’t accommodate the request.
“We just didn’t have a bed. There was simply no room in the hospital to treat the patient,” Paryani told CNN.
Paryani, a radiation oncologist, said that the hospital’s resources have been strained by the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.
“What we are seeing is just a tremendous amount of patients coming in. The other day, our emergency room had a 12-hour wait,” Paryani said.
“Almost every hospital in the city is on diversion, meaning they don’t have room to take transfer patients. Patients who need complex care simply can’t access it. This kind of strain is something we’ve never seen before.”
He blamed the overwhelming number of cases on the highly contagious Delta variant.
“Delta is just ripping through the hospitals in ways that we couldn’t have imagined, and the strain it’s causing on the health care system is unimaginable,” Paryani said.
Nearly 17,000 people were hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 — a figure that accounts for about 17% of virus-related hospitalizations in the nation, according to data Wednesday from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Experts emphasize that the majority of hospitalizations for the virus are among unvaccinated people.
“We’re seeing in the hospitals, greater than 90 percent of the people that are admitted in the ICUs are unvaccinated. There is no question that the vaccine is the best option we have. It is also the cheapest option we have. It is the most effective, and there’s really no reason that people should be avoiding the vaccine,” Paryani said.
More than 100,000 people across the country are hospitalized with COVID-19, the first time the US has reached that total since January.