Rural hospitals transferring patients out of state due to COVID surge

COVID and rural Kansas
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:15 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - We’ve told you about the issues facing hospitals in Sedgwick County. Hospitals in rural Kansas are also in need of help right now and facing their own challenges.

“We still have plenty of other critical patients displaced by this and have nothing to do with COVID,” said Physicians Assistant, Paul Young, at Goodland Regional Medical Center.

Goodland Regional Medical Center says as of Wednesday it had no COVID-19 patients, but overall they can only handle a few. Young says they could get overwhelmed in a matter of hours with only a handful of patients. He says they have had to call Denver and Nebraska hospitals to see if they have empty beds.

A big issue for many, having to potentially send patients out of state or county for care. Kim Artzer’s dad who tested positive had to be sent to Omaha. Her mom tested positive as well. She says they took her parents to a hospital in Saint Francis and her dad was soon transferred to a Omaha hospital.

“Right now he’s 100 percent on a ventilator, he can’t breathe on our own at all,” said Artzer.

She says due to her dad’s condition, he needed to be sent to a different facility, hours away.

“It’s just hard that he’s that far away.”

Doctors say more cases of COVID have caused hospitals to reach capacity and some patients have had to be sent to out of town hospitals.

Young says to slow the spread, we should all take responsibility. He says to wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask.

“Just tell them you love them as much as you can,” said Artzer.

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