Medical experts beg Houstonians to get vaccinated: 'We are in a crisis'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A resounding message from hospital staff across Houston is simple: They're frustrated.

COVID-19 admissions at Memorial Hermann hospitals have skyrocketed over the past week as the delta variant swoops through Texas.

Houston Methodist Hospital reported 442 COVID patients on Saturday, July 31.

Six days later, that number jumped to 562. Dr. Neil Gandhi, the emergency medicine medical director for Houston Methodist Hospital believes this possibly could've been avoided.

"A little frustrated as physicians in that a lot of these patients, if they had gotten the vaccine, would have been able to stay home," he said.

READ MORE: Houston Methodist ER running at full capacity amid COVID surge: 'Highest I've ever seen'

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital issued a memo to employees on Friday, saying it has 90 patients in its 20-bed emergency department with more than 50 people waiting for a bed.

The memo asked staff to "expeditiously discharge appropriate patients" to meet demand.

Meanwhile, at Ben Taub Hospital, staff has been diverting ambulance traffic all day and is no longer able to take anyone who is not on "death's door."

READ MORE: Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital says ER is at 'critical capacity'

"We are truly in a medical-necessity-urgent-type of situation," said the hospital's COO Louis Smith.

Across theses hospitals, about 90% to 95% of the COVID admissions are all patients who haven't received the vaccine.

Medical experts in the largest medical center in the world are charging the unvaccinated population with needlessly filling their hospital beds.

"They are occupying our med-surge beds as well as our ICU beds, which is taking that away from other types of medical needs that may exist in the community," said Smith.

"A lot of aspects of this fourth wave have been preventable. That means if they would have gotten vaccines, they likely wouldn't have had to come to the hospital," said Gandhi.

Now, they're begging people to go get vaccinated.

"I wish I could tour them in the hospitals, the ICUs of young individuals that are sitting on ventilators that may not make it out of the hospital", said Smith.

READ ALSO: Houston hospital says 'if you're not on death's door,' you'll likely have to wait for a room

"This is just going to continue and the consequences are going to get worse if we don't get more people vaccinated," said Dr. David Callender, the president and CEO for the Memorial Hermann Health System.

For a closer look at where to get your vaccine we have an interactive map, visit the ABC13 vaccine tracker.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.