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Park City Hospital Dr. Reports That Unvaccinated COVID Patients Can Be Abusive

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KPCW
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A doctor from Park City Hospital says the overwhelming majority of their current COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.   

But Dr. Wing Province reports a more troubling trend.   He says many of those patients are hostile to hospital personnel, are misinformed, and on occasion they even accost health workers.   

Dr. Province, the hospital’s medical director, told the Summit County Board of Health Monday night that over 90 percent of their COVID patients are not vaccinated.

He said the attitude from patients is a problem the staff has seen for about two months.    He gave an example of a woman in the emergency room.      

“She, being COVID positive, spit in our nurse’s face, kicked our nurse in the chest with her foot, and scratched all the technicians and everyone else that were coming in to try and put in an IV, tried to resuscitate her, calling them every name in the book.  We had to close the door cause there were children in the emergency department that shouldn’t be hearing the kinds of words she was using to describe our care-givers.  And that was just one, who then gets admitted up to the ICU where we had three other patients like that, where the nurses and the technicians and the physicians that are here, literally trying to save their lives and keep them alive, are being treated like this.”

Dr. Province said not every single case is like that.    But he said a significant portion of the patients don’t believe they have COVID.     

“...believe that it’s some sort of flu virus that’s been released by different governments, that they don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a COVID-19 virus, and that we as care-givers trying to aid them, are part of a conspiracy, a government conspiracy to put micro-chips in them or to label them with some sort of disease, that somehow we financially gain from falsely labeling their condition.  And as a result of that, they treat us that way.”

In addition, family or friends of those patients have the same attitude, which means they don’t want to wear masks in the hospital or observe visitor limits in hospital rooms.

The doctor said if the patients do believe they have COVID, they sometimes demand unorthodox treatments.    He said there has been a lot of interest recently in ivermectin, a treatment for parasitic infections.     However, Dr. Province said 21 medical societies have advised ivermectin has no benefit for COVID and its manufacturer, Merck, said it should not be used to treat the virus.

He said the behavior of patients is a stark contrast from a year ago.        

“Last year, when patients came in, they had fear in their eyes.  They looked to us for hope and help and we provided that to them.  And this time, we’re not being treated as, quote, unquote, heroes.  Rather than hope, we’re seeing hate in their eyes.    But I have to give credit to our nurses and docs and technicians.    They truly are just turning the other cheek and doing everything they can to keep these patients alive and well.”

Dr. Province added that a year ago, the average age of COVID fatalities was a little over 70.   This year, the average is 50 years old.

He said of the 10 percent of their infected patients who are vaccinated, what are called “breakthrough cases,” almost all are over 70 years old, or they are “immunocompromised”—that is, they have a medical condition or are undergoing treatment that reduces the body’s ability to resist infection.

Still, Dr. Province said the breakthrough patients  have a milder case of the virus.

He said the Intermountain Health Care system, which includes the Park City facility, is at 100 percent of its bed capacity, and it’s expected that will hit 150 percent this week.     Meanwhile, he noted, more and more nurses are leaving the profession due to burn-out.

Summit County Health Board members, like Doug Evans, said they were disturbed by the doctor’s report.        

“It’s disheartening to know that it’s gotten to this point.  I just always thought we were better than this.   I’m just so thankful that you guys are the heroes, you’re all the heroes.”

And board member Dr. Ilyssa Golding asked if there was anything they could do.  

“I want you to feel safe at work, too.  That’s really important, especially if people are spitting and doing things like that.  Do you feel like you have what you need?  I know people’s behavior is unpredictable.  But it’s really important to me and all of us that you guys feel as safe as possible in your work.”

Dr. Province replied that they do have security, and the Park City Police Department has offered to help de-escalate situations when they occur.

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