Coronavirus cases in Miami Valley hospitals forcing families to wait on cancer, stroke treatment

Local News

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine addressed the Miami Valley from his home in Cedarville Wednesday morning.

DeWine, along with Doctor Kevin Sharrett of Kettering Health Network, discussed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions throughout Ohio and specifically in southwest Ohio.

Miami Valley doctors are worried the skyrocketing number of coronavirus cases will lead to a shortage of hospital beds. One family is worried it’s already impacting care. 

Jay Vance’s 73-year-old mother is battling COVID-19. If and when she does get out of the hospital, she may not immediately be able to get follow-up treatment for her lung cancer, or therapy for the stroke she suffered, because coronavirus cases are filling up Miami Valley hospitals. 

Jay says, “With her current health status, and then catching that diagnosis last week, I think immediately we all assumed that was it. We all assumed curtains.” 

Jay’s mother Lenora has pre-existing conditions and she’s battling several health challenges at once. Jay says, “The words you really don’t want to hear when someone has COPD, emphysema, and now lung cancer: ‘they’re both COVID positive.’” 

After cancer diagnosis and a stroke earlier this year, now she’s battling the coronavirus. His sister is COVID-positive, too. Lenora is doing ok, but she still needs brain scans for the cancer and physical and occupational therapy after the stroke. But since hospitals are flooded with coronavirus patients, she won’t get some of those treatments for the foreseeable future. 

Jay says, “It seems like because she’s stable, they want to get her home and out of the hospital as quickly as they can.” Jay says he understands, adding the hospital his mother is at is doing its best in difficult circumstances. 

And many Miami Valley hospitals are in a similar situation. Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, the Chief Quality Officer for Kettering Medical Center, says, “The percentage now in our hospitals is up to around 25% of all beds are being used for COVID patients, approximately.” 

Dr. Weinstein says there’s no comparison between this surge at Miami Valley hospitals and earlier in the pandemic. “They’re all seeing record numbers of COVID patients, both in the hospital and in the intensive care units, and on ventilators.” 

Jay’s family is isolating, and feeling isolated. With his mother now in the hospital, his father must get around-the-clock Alzheimer’s care at a separate facility. Jay says, “It’s really easy to be very confident that it’s not going to hurt you until it’s on your doorstep hurting you.” 

There is some good news for Jay’s family: since he reached out to us, arrangements have been made for a home care nurse to help his mother with occupational and physical therapy as soon as she is able. 

But the hospital she’s currently being treated at told them in-hospital treatments for the cancer and stroke have been pushed back to Jan. 1 at the earliest. 

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