‘It’s frustrating’: NHRMC doctor speaks out about reality of COVID-19

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 11:47 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dr. Peter Kane, medical director of the cardiovascular unit and heart surgeon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center spoke about his frustrations surrounding the disconnect between the reality of what’s going on at the hospital, and the falsehoods in the community.

“The truth is there is some really serious things happening in the hospital that the community needs to understand,” Kane said. “We’ve reached the level of frustration.”

The ongoing pandemic is not only putting a strain on healthcare facilities, but healthcare workers as well, especially those in intensive care units.

“What the community sees is that the number of COVID patients is starting to drop but the number of patients still in the hospital recovering from COVID is very big and those people are still in the ICU and they’re consuming a lot of care,” Kane said.

Each patient is taking a number of professionals, from nurses, to respiratory therapists, to doctors, to keep them alive, and help them recover.

“They’re toiling at the bedside for these patients, and it is a critical problem.”

Dr. Kane said the vast majority of those critically ill patients are unvaccinated, and those not getting vaccinated are endangering more than themselves.

“It’s important for people who are weighing their individual rights — they’re not understanding that that’s spreading to the whole community, it’s putting the nurses, and respiratory therapists, and doctors that are caring for these patients at risk, it’s really draining a lot of the resources of the community,” Kane said. “I think the frustrating part is that as physicians we support vaccination — most of us that are working day to day with these patients feel like that message is missed in our community, because the patients that we’re seeing in the critical care arena are unvaccinated, primarily.”

Kane is a heart surgeon by profession, but that’s changed since his 14-bed intensive care unit quickly filled with COVID patients over the past month.

“This past month the ICU has quickly filled with COVID patients, so the spillover effect has been two-fold.,” said Kane. “We also take care of patients on ECMO which is a version of the heart lung machine that helps the most critically ill patients with COVID and have respiratory failure.”

Kane’s goal is to “bridge this disconnect between what we keep seeing, what is taking place in the hospital, and the perception in the community.”

Kane hopes his words motivate others to get vaccinated and help save lives.

“I look forward to that time when we can move past this, but right now we still got a lot of sick patients in the hospital that need to get well,” Kane said.

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