Sask. doctor says soaring number of COVID-19 cases leading to 'tough decisions' in ICUs
A Saskatchewan ICU doctor says the healthcare system is “stretched” and doctors have to make difficult calls as the number of COVID-19 cases rises.
Dr. Lookman Abdul at Battleford Union Hospital says over 90 per cent of people that have ended up in ICU haven’t been vaccinated.
Alberta and Saskatchewan have the lowest vaccination rates in Canada, and the highest rates of COVID-19 per capita, according to federal health officials.
“You have to make a tough decision, who is the sickest, who is the youngest, who has more comorbidities or medical problems,” Abdul said.
He says ventilators aren’t allowed on medical wards and if there are no beds in the ICU, patients can't acces some specialized equipment or life support.
“And you have to look them in the face and say, we’ve got no beds in ICU so you’re going to get some substandard care instead of getting good care,” said Abdul.
Adbul adds most cancer surgeries are being cancelled right now due to the surge in COVID-19 patients and there isn’t enough staff available to handle an influx of patients from potential events like a car accident.
The Delta-variant-driven fourth wave is predominantly linked to low vaccine uptake, Abdul says.
“We know it prevents people from getting sick and it prevents death so people should go out and get vaccinated and hopefully we can turn things around,” said Abdul.
To suppress the fourth wave, people need to revive protocols and restrictions used to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the previous waves, said Adbul. He says people should wear masks, use proper handwashing and sanitization, practice physical distancing and limit contact with others and get vaccinated.
PROTECTING CARE HOME RESIDENTS
Residents in Saskatchewan care homes are receiving their third shot of vaccine to further protect against COVID-19.
Jim Van Eaton, 92, lives in a long term care home in Shellbrook, Sask.and got the shot an hour before CTV’s interview. He said he’s seen vaccines eradicate fatal diseases like polio, measles, mumps and tuberculosis.
“And if we could just get the social media to be a little bit more agreeable instead of trying to stop people from having it we could get back to a nearly normal life,” said Van Eaton.
Van Eaton said the pandemic lockdown at the care home in was difficult for residents, especially those with dementia.
“It was very, very difficult for most of the people that are residents,” Van Eaton said.
In the fourth wave, residents are having to live under a new set of visitor restrictions. In Parkland Terrace Long-term Care Facility, access is limited to the same two pre-screened visitors per resident and they are only allowed in one at a time.
Van Eaton says residents are affected by visitor restrictions. He wants the public to get vaccinated so life can on day return to normal.
“The people that refuse to get vaccinated in my personal opinion aren’t doing their part for their neighbours,themselves, their grandchildren, or anybody and I would just be so pleased if we could get the majority of the people to get the vaccine so that we could get back much more to normal then we’ve been in two years,” he said.
He also wants health care workers mandated to get the vaccine.
“I appreciate the fact we have very wonderful people working for us but if we don’t do something, I’m afraid that they’re going to get burned out,” Van Eaton said.