ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A Siloam Springs girl is speaking out about hospital capacity after waiting hours for her chronically ill brother to find a bed.
Ashley McFardin said it all began Monday when her brother got sick and needed to get to the hospital but had to wait 14 hours for a bed due to overcrowding. She said she feels hospitals are overcrowding because of COVID-19 patients who chose not to get vaccinated.
“I know my brother isn’t the only one that has pre-existing health conditions that are very unpredictable and could need immediate care,” McFardin said.
Spokesperson for Washington Regional, Natalie Hardin said the hospital is dealing with brief periods of reaching full capacity. She said while the hospital can immediately treat patients to stabilize them, at times staff does have to transfer patients to other hospital where beds are available for longer term care.
“It was a really, really helpless feeling hearing from medical professionals that he temporarily doesn’t have a place to go and that there were no ICU beds available,” McFardin said.
Martine Pollard is a spokesperson for Northwest Arkansas Healthcare Providers. She provided a statement that says, “Due to significant increase of COVID-19 cases and inpatient hospitalizations across our region, our hospitals are opening and addressing the ability to open additional COVID-19 beds to expand capacity and meet this growing need.”
Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health said this is a problem nationwide.
“That situation in northwest Arkansas is not only in northwest Arkansas,” he said. “Other hospitals in central Arkansas, other parts of the state have reported varying levels of, ‘We’re really close to being at max or we are.'”
Pollard said 95% of the COVID-19 patients in hospitals across our region are not vaccinated- something McFardin said leaves her frustrated.
“What really frustrates me is that there were so many opportunities for everyone to prevent this from happening,” she said.
After 14 hours of waiting for a bed, McFardin said her brother was able to find one at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. She hopes her story encourages others to think outside of themselves and consider the vaccine for the safety and protection of others, even if it simply means being one less body that is crowding hospitals during these times.