CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales indicated on Sunday that due to a lack of hospital staff in the Coastal Bend, there weren’t any beds available due to the COVID-19 surge.
After speaking to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, there may have been a miscommunication.
“I said that we were full, but we weren’t full enough to go in diverge," Mary Dale Peterson said, COO and executive vice president of Driscoll Health System. "We did not have that specific conversation, but I did tell her that the units were tight. And we are opening up another floor tomorrow, I think.”
There is a nurse shortage nationally, but Peterson said they are doing alright with who they have.
“We’re obviously day-to-day making sure we have enough discharges to match the number of admissions coming in. So, it’s tight but we’re managing it,” she said.
COVID-19 isn’t the biggest problem for Driscoll Children’s Hospital. While there’s been an uptick the last two weeks, Peterson said they have a higher surge in Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV.
“I’ve been a physician in pediatrics for over 30 plus years, and I've never seen a summer surge," said Peterson. "There’s a lot of speculation out there, but I don’t think anyone understands really why viruses are seasonal to begin with. And why it would show up now when we didn’t see any this last winter.”
RSV and COVID-19 surges are happening across the state she said. Driscoll Chuildren's Hospital has taken in transfer patients from all across south Texas. Locally, she said her husband is a cardiologist at the adult hospitals, and they are being hit hard by COVID-19.
“The majority of children that we’ve had hospitalized is because a family member has had Covid," said Peterson. "Or somebody that they live with or close to, and so, really to protect our children we need to get vaccinated. When we have a vaccine that can prevent early hospitalizations from Covid for the most part, it’s sad when I see people suffering and dying when a vaccine could have taken care of it.”
A spokesperson from Christus Spohn confirmed they have occasionally had to divert patients elsewhere during the uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Other than that confirmation, Christus Spohn and Judge Canales were unavailable for any additional comment on Monday.
Corpus Christi Medical Center provided a statement, but it does not address the questions related to bed space and current staffing.
"Corpus Christi Medical Center has been providing high quality care for the communities we serve for decades and has not wavered in our commitment to following best practices and delivering excellent care throughout this pandemic, even recently receiving Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades quality and safety awards.
As hospitalization numbers related to the Delta variant spreading among largely unvaccinated members in our communities, and while staffing has been a challenge for all healthcare providers across the country, we are actively hiring veteran nurses, as well as recruiting new nursing graduates and offering them positions through our StaRN program. This is an innovative initiative designed to provide these talented candidates with a preceptorship experience to determine the specialty area that they would like to pursue.
While most hospitals and caregivers across the globe are facing the challenges of this pandemic, we have heavily invested to procure sufficient PPE, supplies and staffing resources needed. We are proud of the extensive work, planning and training that our hospital has done to ensure the delivery of high-quality care during this global crisis."