Decatur-Morgan Hospital ICU doctor says resources could be quickly exhausted

If COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, hospitals across North Alabama are at risk of not being able to treat patients

Hospitals face rising COVID numbers

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - “It is quite possible that we will exhaust all our resources, and we may have to decide which patients get the resources available,” Dr. James Boyle explained as his emotions took over at a Monday press conference.

Dr. Boyle, pulmonologist and lead ICU physician at Decatur-Morgan Hospital said this could be a bad situation.

Boyle described just how much the toll of this virus is affecting health care centers across north Alabama.

”Our ICU is full, and I’m praying for a Christmas miracle,” Dr. Boyle continued.

85 percent of Boyle’s ICU patients are on life-support ventilators.

That’s a number that’s not even comparable to the amount of flu patients Dr. Boyle has seen in his professional career.

”I’ve been practicing in this county since 98, and I’ve never had more than 2-3 people on ventilators with the flu in the last 20 years,” he said.

Ventilators have been borrowed from surrounding hospitals.

Dr. Boyle, his staff, and the hospital as a whole is simply struggling to keep up, and transferring patients to other hospitals in our region isn’t an option.

He said Christmas gatherings could make things even worse.

”All of north Alabama is going to be run over with coronavirus patients at the same time,” Boyle said.

Boyle said hospital administration is preparing for a surge unlike anything they’ve seen before.

”If you have one ventilator and you have two patients, who gets that ventilator? Or you have a patient who’s on a ventilator and you have a patient that comes in and needs that ventilator, how do you make that decision?,” Boyle explained.

Boyle said that decision is a heart wrenching one.

However, the decision to put on a mask, social distance and sanitize, should be an easy one.

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