Stillwater hospital nearing a breaking point with current COVID-19 situation

STILLWATER, Okla. — A Stillwater hospital said that they are nearing a breaking point with the current COVID-19 situation.

In an emotional interview, the President and CEO of Stillwater Medical described the rare ‘code green disaster declaration.’ A code green is put into place whenever there is an external disaster — in this case, the OSU parade crash.

“It’s heartbreaking. I’ve got to say. They’re exhausted. They are trying their hardest to give everything they can and some of them are close to the end of their ability to give. And so, I have never seen anything like this,” said Denise Webber of Stillwater Medical.

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“It just reached a point that I was concerned that we really needed to pull some resources. We didn’t have enough that we could adequately continue providing care in our emergency departments and urgent care. Too many patients and not enough staff to be able to assess them all,” Webber said.

Webber said that they had to make a decision this past week to call a “code green,” which braces the hospital for an external disaster.

“Because the number of patients that are needing our services is growing at such a rate, and we also have a number of our staff out positive with COVID, as well. That’s made it really tricky and so we needed to call a code green to move resources around to try to extend ourselves even further,” Webber said.

Webber was asked how the hospital is managing its resources and navigating the situation.

“We take stock of our entire health system, how many staff and where they are. It allows us to reduce the regulatory burden in this pandemic. It also allows us to um use areas for patient care that we might not use,” Webber said.

Webber said that each wave of the pandemic has brought different challenges.

“And this one is, even though there are not as many people that are dying from COVID or needing mechanical ventilation from COVID, there are more people that need to be assessed. So many more cases of COVID and that higher number of cases of COVID is leading to hospitalizations at a really high level,” Webber said.

With more than 100 of their workers out sick, their employees who are still in the trenches are nearing a breaking point.

“I’m so thankful for each and every one of them and all the organizations throughout Oklahoma that continue to show up. Be kind and spread kindness to your healthcare workers because they’re tired. They really are. You can see it on their faces,” Webber said.