LA County doctor describes dire situation at hospitals with influx of COVID-19 patients

A doctor from the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center describes a dire situation at LA County hospitals as staff cares for an influx of COVID-19 patients among other medical emergencies.

"We went from a normal functioning hospital approximately three to four weeks ago to being completely overwhelmed to where COVID patients are everywhere in our hospital, at every floor, and we've had to stop doing surgeries. Unfortunately, people with lung cancer, colon cancer who have been waiting weeks and weeks for surgery to have their cancer treated are having to be delayed," said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, the Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit.

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Yadegar has been a critical care physician for 20 years, and an ICU Medical Director for ten years.

"There hasn't been anything that's come close to what we're going through at the current time. We've expanded our ICU. We've expanded every floor. We have patients in every possible patient care area, and yet unfortunately once we get patients well and discharged home, there are another five patients waiting for that same bed who are even sicker," he said.

Yadegar said he was responsible for more than 80 patients on Monday.

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"I had to give some of our other critical care physicians days off because, at this point, it's not a matter of what days you are working, it's more of a matter of which day you can take off. I was responsible for over 80 patients in our hospital [Monday]. Obviously, that's not something any physician could see, but you do your best. You talk to nurses and you talk to other doctors and you try to make sure that you get to every critical patient that needs to be evaluated and you take care of every patient possible," he said.

Yadegar said hospitals are starting to see COVID patients who came down with symptoms after gathering for Christmas. One particular family had 13 cases.

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"One person [in the family of 13] developed symptoms and all 13 of them came down with the virus and all 13 of them got sick and a couple of them are in the hospital," he said.

Yadegar said hospitals do not have the resources to care for all of the patients who are coming down with coronavirus.

"I think all of us fear what the next few weeks will hold," he said.

Yadegar made a Facebook video to let people know what medical staff personnel are experiencing while working at hospitals, and he also wants to encourage people to get vaccinated when it's their turn.

RELATED: Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Southern California

"I'm due to get my second shot in a couple of days and I look forward to it and I think all of us healthcare workers know there's really only one manageable way to get out of this pandemic and that's to get vaccinated and to have as many people vaccinated as possible so we can slow the spread of the virus," he said.

He hopes people will start taking more precautions to curb the spread of the virus in LA County and throughout California.

"It wears on you [working at a hospital] and I think a lot of the nurses, a lot of the doctors I speak with, not just in our hospital but across LA County just don't understand why the public isn't helping us in the fight against this virus," he said.