This woman needs a kidney — but says unvaccinated COVID patients in Florida are blocking her transplant

This woman needs a kidney — but says unvaccinated COVID patients in Florida are blocking her transplant
U.S. Air Force Capt. Kimberly Warstler, R.N., stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., dons proper personal protective equipment to enter a room with a COVID-19 positive patient at the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 13, 2020. Warstler is a Lone Star State native, having received her nursing degree from Texas Tech University, and says she's proud to return to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. She, along with approximately 60 service members, are working jointly with the civilian hospitals to assist in the mitigation of the virus and help citizens in need. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, remains committed to providing flexible Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in support of the whole-of-America COVID-19 response. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Samantha Hall)

Carol Johnson was elated to learn her brother was a match for her kidney transplant. Under normal circumstances, that would mean surgery could be scheduled within a couple of weeks. However, that isn't the case in Tampa Florida.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, Tampa General Hospital has postponed elective surgeries indefinitely due to the surge in COVID-19 patients inundating hospital systems across the Sunshine state. For Johnson, the uncertain timeline could be detrimental to her health. Now, she is speaking out about what she believes is the cause of the COVID surge: the unvaccinated.

Speaking to the publication, Johnson expressed frustration and anger toward those who have refused to get vaccinated for COVID. Johnson suggested that others are having to suffer as a result of their decision not to get the COVID vaccine. "They take up a hospital bed, and the hospital can't turn them away," she said. "I don't wish them any ill will, of course, but when you make stupid mistakes, you should take responsibility."

Like Johnson, hundreds of others are also facing inconveniences due to frontline workers and hospital beds being diverted as a result of the influx of COVID patients. Doctors within the state's healthcare system have also noticed the impacts of the pandemic and how it has led to notable changes.

"COVID is affecting the whole of the health care system," said BayCare chief medical officer Dr. Nishant Anand. "Every service has been stressed because of the increasing demands on health care needs."

Tampa General released a brief statement indicating that it "cannot comment on her case due to medical privacy laws, but said in a statement that the hospital is performing live-donor transplant procedures on 'medically emergent cases, evaluating each on a case-by-case basis,'" the report explained.

In an emailed statement, spokesperson Phil Buck wrote: "TGH leadership continues to monitor the COVID surge situation closely and will amend our procedural schedule as needed to ensure the safety of our patients, team members and physicians."


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