Doctor warns 'tough time' to have appendicitis, heart attack as COVID-19 cases overwhelm ERs

According to those in the healthcare community, COVID-19 cases are having an overwhelming impact on ERs and hospitals. 

At Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, we caught up with Dr. Ali Jamehdor as he walked out of the ER to catch a break and talk with us. We asked what’s it like in the ER? The ER doctor replied, "It’s busy! it’s busy!"

Here and at other medical centers, healthcare workers are triaging patients in outdoor tents. Those with upper respiratory complaints go in the dark tents to separate them from others in the hospital. The white tent is for more serious symptoms like low blood oxygenation. 

RELATED: LA County reports 66 COVID deaths, highest daily toll since April

"The COVID admissions are growing astronomically," Dr. Bernie Klein, the CEO of Providence Holy Cross, told FOX 11.

He said cases have more than quadrupled at his hospital in the last few weeks pointing out, "We now have over 95 patients in the hospital at this time." 

They, like other hospitals, are short-staffed because many workers are out sick with COVID. 

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Dr. Klein says they’re bringing in out-of-state nurses and offering bonus pay for healthcare workers to do overtime. Lots of hospitals are feeling the overload on their ER's.

Angelique Campen, an ER doctor at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank, says the system is stressed. She says the COVID crush makes it hard to deal with other normal emergencies warning, "It’s a tough time to have any other serious illness right now. It’s a hard time to have appendicitis, a heart attack, because the health care system is being taxed right now."

At both hospitals, morale is down. A few weeks ago Dr. Campen showed me this picture that her son took at the end of an exhausting day in the ER. 

She was kneeling with her back against a wall and her hand on her forehead. She said she was exhausted at the end of the day in the ER. Her son took the photo. She says it hasn’t gotten better adding, "I would say morale has gotten significantly worse. We are working harder. We are working against a lot of high emotion from outpatients."

This while Dr. Klein says, "People are tired. They’re frustrated. Staff…they’re exhausted."

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