Waxahachie

As ‘Heartbreaking' COVID-19 Surge Continues, Healthcare Workers Feel Burnout

Doctors call the current surge "avoidable" and "heartbreaking" as unvaccinated people make up the majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients

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The COVID-19 surge is crushing medical resources and bringing healthcare workers to the brink of burnout.

It's also opening the eyes of people who are unvaccinated and hospitalized, as some are now expressing remorse.

From her hospital bed at Baylor Scott & White Waxahachie, 61-year-old Barbara Beck expressed regret.

"This has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me," she said.

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She's been hospitalized for 25 days and while she's finally getting better, she's facing the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 after she let fear drive her decision not to get vaccinated.

She said she had a negative experience with a medical device that was eventually recalled. That experience drove her hesitancy to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Please get the vaccine. It is so worth it. Don't go through what I have gone through," Beck said.

Her remorse adds to the situation doctors summed up with one word: heartbreaking.

Ninety-two percent of COVID-19 patients hospitalized within the Baylor Scott & White Health system are unvaccinated.

Patients this summer are also younger -- the average age is 47 years old.

Doctors said oftentimes, they're treating members of the same family.

"The other day, we had to wheel down my patient from the fifth floor who was getting better to say goodbye to husband in ICU who didn't make it," said Dr. Ahad Rehmatulla, chief of medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Waxahachie. "That was heartbreaking for the entire team."

Rehmatulla said the heartbreak has led to tremendous burnout among staff.

"You can't expect anything like this. You can't prepare for anything like this, even being a hospital doctor, where we take care of sick patients all the time. That's what we do but nothing prepares us for this," he said.

His hospital had fewer than 10 COVID-19 patients a month ago. That number is now up to 60 or 70 daily.

The hope is more people get vaccinated to avoid the heartache that fills hospital halls.

"I've seen so many people come with COVID that hadn't had the vaccine," Beck said. "I wish I would have got it."

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