SRMC CEO Shares Hospitalization and Transfer Experiences for COVID Patients
November 24, 2021 | View PDF
Jason Petik, CEO of Sidney Regional Medical Center (SRMC) based in Sidney, Nebraska, joined the November 17 briefing to discuss what hospital care and patient needs have looked like for them with the fall Panhandle COVID wave.
Petik began with sharing while the numbers have slowly declined, two to three weeks ago, this was a different story. Before the current surge, they were seeing one to two COVID patients in the hospital at a time. With the surge, COVID patients increased to about eight but it has gone down in recent days back to pre-surge numbers.
“The other side is all of the hospitals in the Panhandle being able to expedite people to a higher level of care outside of the area. Colorado hospitals are currently in crisis care mode, that changes the ballgame quite a bit,” Petik explained.
SRMC was unable to transfer people out for quite some time but was fortunate in the last couple of days to transfer two to three patients for care in Colorado. Concerningly, just last week the closest hospital they could send someone needing immediate surgical care was an air flight to Kansas City.
“That tells you how far we had to send people to find beds that could take care of patients needing a higher level of care. It fluctuates. We see a continuous drop and surge. After the holidays, will likely see an uptick,” said Petik.
When asked about the length of time western Nebraska has been experiencing issues with transferring people out of the area, Petik estimated they have been enduring challenging transfers to higher levels of care for almost three weeks. This includes not only here in the Panhandle but to Colorado as well.
As the eastern part of the state and the front range of Colorado ramped up with COVID cases, those healthcare facilities became more and more taxed. They were having the challenge hit them first before it hit the Panhandle, and when it hit the area, they were already in the midst of it. This is where it became a problem with being able to accept patients. They simply did not have anywhere to take folks.
“What it comes down to is whether or not someone may live or die if you are not able to transfer that person out and you do not have the level of care or services available for someone, say an extensive stroke or heart attack. We don’t have a cardiac lab, we can’t do catheterization for heart services. If that is what that person needs, their outcome is going to be significantly less than it was if we could transfer them out,” Petik concluded.
The Panhandle has trended differently than other parts of the state for COVID cases and while we are seeing a current decline, people are urged to help out our health systems by getting vaccinated.
Vaccinations have protection against all known variants, including Delta. For anyone age 5 and older, please get vaccinated. COVID vaccine is widely available across the Panhandle and there is no charge for the vaccine.
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Unified Command confirms 245 more cases of COVID in the Panhandle.