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Coronavirus

Non-Coronavirus Patients Wait for Intensive Care Unit Bed

September 27, 2021

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The coronavirus patients that fill the intensive care unit at a Rapid City hospital are forcing other patients in need of an ICU bed to wait.

The director of the ICU nursing unit at Monument Health hospital, George Sazama, said one man in need of open heart surgery was told he would have to wait longer than expected.

“That’s one of the hardest things we have to do right now because of all the COVID-19 patients needing care first,” said Sazama.

The man was angry, but at least understanding, Sazama said.

“He’s been trying to get in to have open heart surgery for over a month and we can’t get him in to do (it),” Sazama said.

ICU nurse Daniel Warnke says those infected with coronavirus are staying longer in the unit than regular patients, the Rapid City Journal reported.

“Most of our ICU patients that are non-COVID we’ll have here today or two days, sometimes a little bit longer. For our COVID patients, we are sitting on them for 20 to 30 to 40 days. And you know, we just had one pass yesterday that’s been with us for awhile,” Warnke said.

Warnke doesn’t know what the light at the end of the tunnel may be.

“We thought the vaccine would be in all honesty,” Warnke said. “I think the people in health care, myself personally, thought that was it.” 

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