Driscoll Children's Hospital COO: 'It's all hands on deck'

Driscoll Children's Hospital
Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 23:10:19-04

When Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales announced earlier this month that hospital beds were full because of the current COVID-19 surge, Driscoll Children's Hospital reported it was not yet overwhelmed.

Less than two weeks later, the hospital reports having to discharge one of its pediatric patients in order to make room for another.

Driscoll Health System Executive Vice President and COO Dr. Mary Dale Peterson told KRIS 6 News on Friday the hospital currently has 20 COVID-19 patients in its emergency room, and 20 RSV patients.

"It's all hands on deck," she said.

Peterson said the hospital's numbers currently aren't as bad as they were, say, two days ago, but that last week it tested more than 1,000 children for the novel coronavirus.

Of those children, 250 were diagnosed as having the virus.

"Every single child that we've had in our hospital with COVID, they had gotten it from an adult family member who wasn't vaccinated," she said.

The hospital currently is recruiting traveling nurses, and those who have recently retired, to help the hospital to with the influx of patients.

"We’re planning for a worst-case scenario," she said.

The contingencies come after projections by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi associate professor Christopher Bird estimates that, unless steps are taken to mitigate the virus' spread, the region would see more than 1,000 COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and more than 300 patients would require treatment in local ICUs by mid-September.

"I’m hoping Dr. Bird’s numbers don’t prove true, because we will run out of beds in the Coastal Bend," she said.

Those projections would see double the numbers patients in hospitals as last summer, which marked an all-time high in COVID-19 cases in the Coastal Bend region.

Such a scenario would require asking for military assistance, and setting up tents outside the hospital, Peterson said.

"I don't want to get to that point," she said. "That’s not great care when you get to that point."

For now, however, the children's hospital still is accepting patients. But she asks adults to also do their part.

"It’s really preventable, in my opinion," she said. "If all of the adults out there would get vaccinated, and all the kids out there 12 and older would get vaccinated, we would not be exposing younger children to COVID, and they wouldn’t be ending up in the hospital."

This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for updates.