Ochsner Health doctor wrote a poignant message to the unvaccinated

Hospitalizations are surging among the unvaccinated
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2021 at 7:14 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A veteran Ochsner Health System doctor uses social media to make a passionate plea to the unvaccinated as the Delta variant fills hospitals across the state and in many areas of the country.

Dr. Jairo Santanilla, is a critical care doctor. He read from his recent Facebook post.

Dr. Jairo Santanilla's Facebook post to the unvaccinated amid the surging Delta variant...
Dr. Jairo Santanilla's Facebook post to the unvaccinated amid the surging Delta variant coronavirus cases.(Source: Facebook)

Santanilla who said he has been treating patients for 20 years says he typed the message last month during the wee hours of the morning after it was clear another surge in COVID-19 cases was coming.

Santanilla was asked if he was angry at people who have not been vaccinated.

“No, mad is probably strong. I think frustrated. I think it’s difficult to understand from my perspective this is what we do, this is what we train for long, long periods of time, years, give up our twenties to do this kind of stuff, to help people and then when there’s a cure, there’s something that can change this it’s frustrating,” Santanilla.

Federal health agencies say no vaccine is 100% effective, but the CDC and state and local public health leaders say the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are not vaccinated.

Santanilla talked about what he is seeing up close in the ICU. “We’ll see people on high levels of oxygen, high levels of flow, we’ll put masks on them to try to force air in, pressure and we do all these things to try to stave off getting people on the ventilator but occasionally we have to, more than occasionally we have to put people on ventilators,” he said.

Ochsner leaders said there were 890 COVID-19 patients in Ochsner Health System hospitals on Thursday.

President and CEO Warner Thomas said that is a 73% increase in just over a week, and cases of the virus are projected to climb.

“The models that we’ve built internally that project this escalation projects that we will continue to see an escalation in the coming weeks, so it is actually reaching a critical situation,” said Thomas.

Dr. Katherine Baumgarten is Ochsner Health’s medical director of infection control and prevention.

“We’ve done this not one, not two, not three but four times now and it takes its toll. They’re doing it, they’re getting it done, we’re getting patients taken care of, but certainly, it’s affecting not just us but our community,” she said.

Frustration aside, Santanilla said he will stay the course.

“Oh yes, I think, that there’s very few of us who are in the midst of this, saying hey, I’m going to leave right now, there are some and for their mental health I think that’s what they need to do if that’s what they need to do,” said Santanilla.

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