- An Arkansas doctor described fear on the faces of dying, unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
- The state lags the rest of the US in vaccinations and is seeing a surge in cases.
- GOP governor Asa Hutchinson has urged people to get the shot.
An Arkansas doctor posted an emotional plea to his patients to get vaccinated, describing “regret and remorse” on the faces of patients dying with COVID-19.
Speaking from a coronavirus unit in Washington Regional Medical Center, Fayetteville, Dr. Michael Bolding said that he wished people could see the faces of patients.
He said the sick people know “that they may be short for this world because they didn’t get their vaccine.”
“The regret, and remorse, on their face — and fear — I can’t show you, I can’t describe,” he said. The video came as the state experienced a major surge in cases, and lagged rest of the US in its vaccination rate.
“But that look on a patient’s face, I promise you, would be more motivating than anything to go ahead and get your vaccine if you have not already,” he said.
Dr Bolding described a “dramatic rise” in unvaccinated patients in their 20s and 30s who need to be hospitalized. He emphasized many of these are “younger, healthier patients with no comorbid conditions” who need advanced care.
“I have had to call multiple fathers and mothers of preschoolers — in their 20s and 30s — and tell them that their spouse may very well not survive this hospitalization,” he added.
He said medics were exhausted after 16 months of unrelenting effort. The video was posted to Facebook on July 16 and has been shared more than 6,300 times.
By then, new cases in the state had almost tripled in the space of two weeks. In the days since they have continued to surge, according to The New York Times case tracker.
On Saturday alone, the state had 2,015 new cases, The Times said.
Washington Regional Medical System shifted to the second phase of its COVID-19 surge plan on July 22, which reduced visiting hours and reassigned medical staff to cope with the influx of new cases.
Its statement said hospitals had seen a 538% increase of hospitalized patients in the last month, without specifying if they were COVID-19 patients.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said on July 22 that the state has fallen victim to the “politicization” of the vaccine, as Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis reported. The state’s vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the US.
Hutchinson, who said he has been double vaccinated, has been touring the state encouraging people to get the shot.
“You can’t be too healthy for this virus,” Dr Bolding told CNN on Sunday. “We are seeing people that are doing CrossFit on Tuesday and are on a ventilator on Friday.”