La Porte pastor hospitalized longer due to oxygen equipment shortage

LA PORTE, Texas (KTRK) -- A La Porte pastor says he is being hospitalized even longer due to a shortage of home oxygen equipment.

Pastor Windell Gill said he was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia and has been a patient at Houston Methodist-Clear Lake Hospital for 10 days.

He was thrilled to hear his doctor was discharging him. That was Thursday morning.

On Friday night, Gill was still in the hospital.

"I asked, 'What are we waiting on?"

READ ALSO: Hospital leaders worried as COVID-related hospitalizations increase

Gill said the response was, "Well, there's no oxygen to release you."

Gill also said a nurse told him at least seven patients were waiting for the same thing. Just like Gill, they still require oxygen at home.

The pastor said hearing that did not sit well with him.

"I'm sure there are others who need this room, who need this kind of care," said Gill. "If we're concerned about making room for patients with desperate needs, this needs to be addressed head-on."

READ ALSO: With no beds, hospitals ship critically ill COVID patients to far-off cities

In a statement, Houston Methodist said, "Home oxygen deliveries come from third-party companies, so we can't speculate what the issue might be. But be assured that we are caring for all patients as long as they are in our hospitals."

ABC13 learned one of the third-party companies is Apria Healthcare, and the company confirmed a shortage of home oxygen equipment due to the recent COVID surge.

In response, they have secured more equipment and are deploying it to areas, including Texas, that are most affected.

They are moving inventory from markets less impacted to those most in need and are dedicating more resources to servicing equipment in need of repairs so it can be used again more quickly.

"These actions will substantially increase the availability of oxygen equipment in the coming days and weeks," the company wrote in a statement.

READ ALSO: Texas COVID-19 surge could be worse than anything the state has seen yet, officials say

Meanwhile, Gill hopes his order comes soon so someone else can have his bed and he can be one step closer to serving his congregation again.

"I feel better than I felt 10 days ago!" said Gill.

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