An 11-month-old baby girl with Covid-19 was turned away because of a shortage of pediatric beds in the Houston area
After what appeared to be a brief respite, COVID-19 hospitalizations are soaring across the country again. As more people turn to hospital emergency rooms for aid, hospital staff are in the terrible position of turning people away. And so it was in Houston, as an 11-month-old girl diagnosed with COVID-19 was airlifted to a hospital 150 miles away because there was no more room at the original medical center closer to where the young girl lived.
Amanda Callaway, a spokesperson for the Harris Health System, said the little girl was having seizures and needed to be intubated but the hospital where she was first taken did not offer pediatric services, CNN reports. As hospital staff looked for a nearby medical center to send the family, they found that none of the major pediatric hospitals in the area had beds available, Callaway said. After being airlifted 150 miles away to a facility with an available bed, CNN reports the girl is now in stable condition and no longer intubated.
“She’s no longer requiring the breathing machine. She’s actually off that right now…and she’s actually resting with mom. She’s looking great,” said Dr. Dominic Lucia, a pediatric emergency physician and chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center — Temple, where the little girl was taken.
“With the Delta variant we certainly are seeing just more infectivity across the population that includes kids, that includes infants as well,” the doctor said.
“And with this particular surge we are seeing more kids that are symptomatic that test positive, more babies that are symptomatic and test positive.” He added, “We’re also hospitalizing more and a few of those, unfortunately, are requiring critical care services that’s not particularly common.” The surge comes as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country, with new cases occurring in areas that have low vaccination rates.
One Twitter user didn’t mince words when it came to her opinion of the surge in hospitalizations.
“They’re having to airlift BABIES to far away hospitals because the peds units are full of covid cases,” the Twitter user wrote. “You selfish, unvaccinated fucks. You deserve what you get. But innocent kids who are too young to be vaccinated do not deserve to suffer bc of you.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he will not impose a statewide mask mandate and has previously banned local government entities from requiring vaccines.
Texans know “what the standards are, what practices they want to adopt to help protect themselves,” the governor told CNN affiliate KPRC last week (via WRAL). “This is time for individual responsibility.”
During the press conference, Dr. Lucia reiterated the importance of receiving the COVID vaccine.
“We’re worried as schools begin to start up and the fact that kids are going to be together again, we’re happy about,” he said. “But we certainly hope that that’s done in a thoughtful way and we’re in support of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines of kids going back to school wearing masks.”
Here’s hoping we as a nation can flatten the curve and slow the spread of the Delta variant.