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'We’re tired, we’re frustrated' | Local hospitals squeezed by increase in COVID patients, staffing challenges

Hospital administrators call it a perfect storm of challenges right now: An influx of patients in need of care and a struggle to find enough staff to provide it.

INDIANAPOLIS — On a sunny day outside IU Health Methodist Hospital, Kari Malloy said the mood inside was anything but.

“I am disappointed,” said Malloy, a registered nurse. “It’s like a repeat from 2020 – April when we just filled up.”

Across the state, nearly three times as many people are now in the hospital with COVID than a month ago, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health.

The number of patients in the ICU has quadrupled.

“I just can’t believe that people didn’t see what happened the first time and now it’s happening again. But why? We had a way to prevent this,” she said.

Malloy said she hopes people who are eligible are vaccinated and that everyone wears a mask and practices social distancing. 

Others agree.

“Everyone thought, ‘We're done! This is over. We're done with this,’” said Dr. Daniel Wickert, a hospital administrator for Franciscan Health Lafayette, during an interview with 13News on Aug. 3. “[But] we're encouraging you to think very seriously ... follow the guidelines.”

RELATED: Indiana hospitals strained by more patients, sicker patients, staffing shortages

Both hospitals in Tippecanoe County reported maxing out on beds, not just from coronavirus patients, but others, too.

Hospital administrators call it a perfect storm of challenges right now: An influx of patients in need of care and a struggle to find enough staff to provide it.

"Nationally, it's just a challenge to recruit nurses,” said Wickert. 

And in some cases, he said, it’s a challenge to keep those still there. 

"We have staff that are just resigning, saying, ‘Look I can't take this anymore. I can't do this anymore,'" he said. 

Malloy said she’s she’ll be on the job as long as it takes.

“I’m a long hauler,” she said with a smile. “I mean, I can’t leave my coworkers now.”

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