With hospitalizations rising everywhere, Midland Memorial has run out of beds in the pediatric ward, forcing children to be cared for in the emergency room.
MIDLAND, Texas – Midland Memorial Hospital is feeling the pressure of more hospitalizations, and it’s not just the adult population. The pediatric ward is already overcapacity, with few options for moving children elsewhere.
Midland Memorial only has 12 pediatric beds available at any given time, and all of those beds are currently occupied, and more children are being cared for in the emergency room.
MMH Chief Nursing Officer, Kit Bredimus, believes that mitigation efforts such as masking and social distancing are needed to protect the young children who cannot get the vaccine.
“If you look at the demographics in the state now, you see that the number of hospitalizations for children across the country and in the state is increasing significantly more than we’ve seen in previous waves,” Bredimus said. “I think that’s definitely a concern this time around, recognizing that in previous waves we had other mitigating factors.”
A full children’s ward is something MMH has not seen during the pandemic.
“We haven’t seen our pediatric ward full since the pandemic,” Bredimus said. “In previous waves, we actually wanted to close the pediatric ward because we just didn’t have a lot of people there. Prior to COVID, there were cases, you know, bad flu seasons, bad RSV seasons, where we can fill up a pediatric ward, but I still have it never seen it fill up so quickly.”
The hospital has looked at transferring patients to other hospitals, but that also appears to be a problem.
“As you know, hospitals across the state are also stocked in the pediatric wards,” Bredimus said. “Our children’s hospitals in the state also have overcapacity, so at this point we continue to look at hospitals across the country that may be able to take patients, but at this point we haven’t been able to identify it.”
Bredimus said the best thing we can do to protect our younger population is to practice mitigation efforts.
“We want to see the best for our children,” Bredimus said. “We want to see the best for all of our patient population, so it just becomes really important to go back to those mitigating practices that we had. Children under 12 cannot be vaccinated. Anyone over 12 can be vaccinated and should .”
Not all patients in the pediatric ward are there with COVID-19. One patient has tested positive, while another is in the emergency room with COVID-19. The rest fight other types of respiratory illnesses, such as RSV.