The indirect effects of COVID-19 in Southern Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. – Southern Oregon COVID-19 cases may be going down, but hospitals are still in crisis mode. At Asante Rogue Regional, medical professionals are triaging patients because there isn’t enough space.

Dr. Kent Dauterman is a Rogue Valley cardiologist. He’s had six of his own patients die from COVID-19, even more, when helping in the emergency room.

“One thing that people don’t often talk about is the collateral damage, in terms of not being able to care for all the heart patients we still have,” said Dr. Dauterman.

Dr. Dauterman said everyone has freedom, the issue is people choosing not to get vaccinated are impinging on others’ rights to live.

“You can carry a gun, you can go shoot at targets. But if you start shooting it around town you’re gonna get arrested,” said Dr. Dauterman, “We have things set up in our society to care for your fellow man and rules to keep people safe. I don’t think we need to make it more complicated than it is”.

Many people who are still critically ill aren’t receiving the care they need.

“As of last week, we had 28 patients waiting for open-heart surgery, 15 patients waiting for minimally invasive vials, 22 patients waiting for pacemakers, 18 patients waiting for differentiators. There’s a lot of people who need care who would usually be able to just get cared for right now,” said Dr. Dauterman.

He worries there could be lasting heart conditions from COVID-19.

“From the heart perspective we worry about is inflammation of the heart, something we called myocarditis, which is something we see on occasion,” said Dr. Dauterman.

Dr. Dauterman said getting seriously ill from COVID-19 is preventable, and you’re not only potentially saving your own life, but also your neighbors.

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