OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma family is being forced to consider COVID-19 treatment in Texas after one of the state’s top doctors says open COVID-19 ICU hospital beds in Oklahoma are rare.
Lynn Cronemiller spoke to KFOR shortly after he returned home from sleeping outdoors in the bitter cold outside his wife’s hospital room at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, Oklahoma.
“Her last words were, ‘I don’t know how this is going to end up,'” Lynn Cronemiller said. “That’s the way we left.”
On the other side of the glass was 64-year-old Kathy Cronemiller, hooked up to a ventilator. She’s been fighting COVID-19 for two weeks as her family continues to hope for a miracle.
“She just kept declining,” Lynn Cronemiller said.
The Ada hospital admits they do not have the type of specialty care Kathy needs. Kathy formed a blood clot in her leg and problems in her intestines.
Her family quickly began looking for a hospital, so they jumped on the phone and began pleading on social media.
“We had a list,” Lynn Cronemiller said. “We just started calling every one of them. All the hospitals said there were no COVID beds. Once the doctor would get on the phone, they wouldn’t have a bed.”
“This is a statewide problem now,” Dr. George Monks with the Oklahoma State Medical Association said. “We are not fine.”
Dr. George Monks spoke just days after Governor Kevin Sitt outlined a new hospital surge plan, claiming the state remains in control.
“We have the hospital beds, and we have the capacity,” Stitt said. “We have the workers available to take care of COVID-19.”
“So many patients in Oklahoma are being transferred from one hospital to another and even outside our state,” Dr. Monks said.
The Cronemillers finally found a COVID-19 ICU bed 200 miles away in Fort Worth, Texas. Kathy was taken there by a helicopter Thursday afternoon.
“I feel like they have stabbed us all in the back,” Lynn Cronemiller said.
Oklahoma has broken its record for hospitalizations every day this week. Meanwhile, the state hasn’t released the specific details on the hospital surge plan.