After becoming very ill, U.S. Army veteran Daniel Wilkinson was taken to the emergency room at Bellville Medical Center just a few steps from his home, where he was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis.
Despite being a treatable condition and doctors saying he needed immediate treatment, Bellville could not take Daniel -also known as Danny- as he required advanced care that the hospital was not prepared to provide.
Hospitals and ICU beds in the nearby area were filled with COVID patients, and despite a desperate search, so were hospitals in the not-so-nearby area.
Danny’s mother, Michelle Puget, said the staff called hospitals across Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and as reported by ABC 13, due to the COVID-19 surge dominated by the delta variant and overwhelmed hospitals, there were no ICU beds available for Wilkinson, who was a non-COVID patient.
Danny spent seven hours waiting for help.
Belville emergency room physician Dr. Hasan Kakli, told a CBS correspondent that his patient was dying right in front of him, as hospitals across Texas and much of the South overwhelmed with COVID patients could not take him in.
When an ICU bed in a Houston V.A hospital finally opened up after a long wait, he was airlifted, but it was too late. Danny died at the age of 46 because the procedure he needed -which would only have taken 30 minutes- could not be carried out anywhere.
“It’s something that nobody should have to experience and I’m just praying that some good will come from it, because every minute that he was denied an ICU bed, he was dying,” said Daniel’s mother. “Every minute counted.”
As COVID-19 cases keep exponentially increasing while the implementation of health measures is being prohibited by Texan authorities, doctors expect this grim scenario to turn even worse. “We are playing musical chairs, with 100 people and 10 chairs,” said Dr. Hasan Kakli “When the music stops, what happens? People from all over the world come to Houston to get medical care and, right now, Houston can’t take care of patients from the next town over.”