Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post/USA Today Doctors in South Florida walk out in protest of unvaccinated patients
With a deluge of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filling up area hospitals, around 75 doctors from South Florida staged a news conference on Monday to urge people to get inoculated.
Early in the morning before the start of their shifts, the doctors briefly stood outside and spoke against the high number of people in the Palm Beach area who refuse to get vaccinated.
"We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low and we need your help," Dr. Rupesh Dharia, from Palm Beach Internal Medicine, told WFLA News.
Florida is currently dealing with the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the country as the state shatters previous daily records. On Monday, Florida reported 21,329 new cases, and the state now has 17,215 people hospitalized with the virus, an increase of 24% over the last 14 days, according to The New York Times. Deaths totaled 228 on Monday, an 86% jump over the last two weeks.
"This time around, this variant is deadlier, it is impacting the lungs quicker, it is eating away at the lungs, it is causing more problems … and the patients are dying quicker," Dr. Ahmed El-Haddad of Jupiter Medical Center told WPTV News.
The doctors said that they want more Floridians to get vaccinated and prevent this rush at area hospitals. Just over half of the state's population — 52% — is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"The heartbreak now, is we're not just going in to work and working long hours, but we're seeing people who don't need to be in the hospital, who are healthy and young, who don't have the co-morbidities that we typically see, and they're getting this from a preventable illness," Dr. Ethan Chapin of Jupiter Medical Center told WPTV.
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Chapin said that it can be frustrating to treat patients who could have avoided getting sick if they had been vaccinated.
"The irony is difficult to deal with some times," he said. "It's [them] trying to reach out to us when we've already extended our hand to help them. And they've pushed it aside, and ignored our advice, and then they come back asking. And it's frustrating, and heartbreaking."
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