When U.S. Military veteran Daniel Wilkinson began feeling sick final week, he went to the hospital in Bellville, Texas, outdoors Houston. His well being drawback wasn’t associated to COVID-19, however Wilkinson wanted superior care, and with the coronavirus filling up intensive care beds, he couldn’t get it in time to save lots of his life.
“He cherished his nation,” his mom, Michelle Puget, informed “CBS This Morning” lead nationwide correspondent David Begnaud. “He served two deployments in Afghanistan, got here residence with a Purple Coronary heart, and it was a gallstone that took him out.”
Final Saturday, Wilkinson’s mom rushed him to Bellville Medical Middle, simply three doorways down from their residence.
However for Wilkinson, assist was nonetheless too distant.
Belville emergency room doctor Dr. Hasan Kakli handled Wilkinson, and found that he had gallstone pancreatitis, one thing the Belville hospital wasn’t geared up to deal with.
“I do labs on him, I get labs, and the labs come again, and I’m on the laptop, and I’ve a type of ‘Oh, crap’ moments. If that stone doesn’t spontaneously come out and doesn’t resolve itself, that fluid simply builds up, backs up into the liver, backs up into the pancreas, and begins to close down these organs. His bloodwork even confirmed that his kidneys have been shutting down.”
Kakli informed Begnaud that his affected person was dying proper in entrance of him. Wilkinson wanted a better stage of care, however with hospitals throughout Texas and far of the South overwhelmed with COVID sufferers, there was no place for him.
Kakli recalled making a number of cellphone calls to different amenities, solely to get plenty of, “sorry … sorry … sorry,” in reply. Locations had the specialists to do the process, however due to how sick he was Wilkinson wanted intensive care, they usually didn’t have an ICU mattress to place him in.
“Then I’m at my laptop and, I’m identical to, scratching my head, and I get this thought in my head: I’m like, ‘What if I put this on Fb or one thing, possibly any person might help out?’ One physician messaged me: ‘Hey, I’m in Missouri. Final time I checked, now we have ICU beds. We will do that, name this quantity.’ The subsequent man messages me, he’s a GI specialist, he goes, ‘I’m in Austin. I can do his process, get him over.’ I stated, ‘Okay nice, let’s go.’ He texts me again 5 minutes later: ‘I’m sorry. I can’t get administrative approval to just accept him, we’re full.’”
For almost seven hours Wilkinson waited in an ER mattress at Belville.
“I had that thought in my head: ‘I have to get his mom right here proper now,’” Kakli stated. “I stated, ‘If he doesn’t get this process achieved, he’s going to die.’
“I additionally needed to have the dialogue with him. ”Dan,’ I stated, ‘in case your coronary heart stops in entrance of me proper right here, what would you like me to do? Would you like me to do all the things we will to resuscitate you and try to get your coronary heart again? If that have been to occur, Dan, if I have been to get you again, we’re nonetheless in that place we’re in proper now.’”
“He stated, ‘I need to speak to my mother about that,’” Kakli informed CBS Information.
Lastly, a mattress opened up on the V.A. hospital in Houston. It was a helicopter experience away.
Kakli recalled Wilkinson saying, “Oh, man, I promised myself after Afghanistan I might by no means be in a helicopter once more! … Oh, effectively, I suppose.”
Wilkinson was airlifted to Houston, however it was too late.
“They weren’t capable of do the process on him as a result of it had been too lengthy,” his mom informed Begnaud. “They] informed me that they’d seen air pockets in his intestines, which signifies that they have been already beginning to die off. They informed me that I needed to decide, and I knew how Danny felt; he didn’t need to be that method. And, so, we have been all in settlement that we needed to let him go.”
Roughly 24 hours after he walked into the emergency room, Daniel Wilkinson died on the age of 46.
Kakli informed Begnaud that if it weren’t for the COVID disaster, the process for Wilkinson would have taken half-hour, and he’d have been again out the door.
“I’ve by no means misplaced a affected person from this prognosis, ever,” Kakli stated. “We all know what must be achieved and we all know how you can deal with it, and we get them to the place they should go. I’m scared that the subsequent affected person that I see is somebody that I can’t get to the place they should get to go.
“We’re taking part in musical chairs, with 100 individuals and 10 chairs,” he stated. “When the music stops, what occurs? Individuals from everywhere in the world come to Houston to get medical care and, proper now, Houston can’t maintain sufferers from the subsequent city over. That’s the truth.”
As of final night time, there have been 102 individuals ready for an ICU mattress within the better Houston space.
Harris County Decide Lina Hidalgo informed Begnaud that she was ready to open a discipline hospital, however as of Friday morning, hospitals within the Houston space have been telling her they’d further beds — however not sufficient nurses. Seven hundred nurses arrived final week, however it’s nonetheless not sufficient to satisfy the demand.