Sunday, March 26, 2023

Covid crisis: When enough is too much

| September 8, 2021 1:00 AM

For the second time since mid-July, Press sports columnist Steve Cameron was hospitalized over the weekend. And for the second time, Steve’s life hung in the balance.

Without getting into too much detail, both times survival seemed unlikely. But both times, Steve’s world-class fighting spirit and the incredible staff at Kootenai Health kept him alive to write another day somewhere down the road.

The point here is not so much to alert Steve’s fans that he’ll be out of commission for a while, but to focus on a bigger picture. It’s one that too many people are ignoring to the potentially devastating effects on others.

While most of us were out enjoying a gorgeous early autumn holiday weekend, Kootenai Health staff were saving lives. That’s normal for these dedicated professionals, but the conditions now aren’t normal. In fact, they’re unprecedented. And unacceptable.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Kootenai Health was flooded with 108 COVID-19 patients. Of those, 39 required critical care. Virtually all of them are unvaccinated people. It’s possible that Kootenai County could become the COVID hot spot for the entire nation, which is shameful because it’s completely avoidable.

For those who still think wearing masks or getting vaccinated is wrong, there is likely nothing we can say to change their minds. But we can and will say this.

The irresponsibility of some is not only a threat to the general population, but it’s also having a crushing, exhausting and potentially lethal effect on the men and women who are risking their lives to save others right now. That some of these patients assail and insult the medical profession, yet receive compassionate care from those same professionals trying to keep them breathing, is ironic to the point of absurdity.

Yet that is what’s happening in our community hospital.

Outside the expanding COVID crisis at Kootenai Health are many other patients, like Steve, whose urgent conditions need immediate attention. Again, Steve would certainly have died Sunday night had not his own crisis been handled so quickly and competently.

But what’s next? What will it take for us as an entire community to do the right thing for each other? What about the people who need emergency care but, because of the exploding COVID crisis here, can’t get it? Do we just let them die?

That’s up to you; to all of us.

Crushing our health care saviors should not be an option.

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