2 Missouri hospitals take to Twitter, ask respiratory therapists for help amid COVID-19 surge

Two leaders at separate Springfield, Mo.-based hospitals tweeted urging respiratory therapists to contact them.

"Call to arms respiratory therapists!" Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, tweeted July 6. "Springfield, Mo is struggling with surging COVID volumes. Cox has plenty of ventilators, PPE, but our heroic RT staff need re-enforcements. If you are an RT and can come to our aid please call or text 417-269-5627. We would be so grateful."

On July 7, Mr. Edwards tweeted that 14 respiratory therapists contacted the organization offering help.  

Meanwhile, Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer at nearby Mercy Hospital, tweeted July 6 that the hospital had 122 COVID positive patients, with 28 in intensive care and 24 on ventilators.

"Physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists are tired. Heck everyone is tired," Mr. Frederick tweeted July 5. "Travel RN's coming this week. Physician support being arranged. If you're a RT, call us." 

Southwest Missouri has emerged as a hotspot, stretching hospitals thin, particularly in spots where vaccination rates are low. CoxHealth Hospital went on diversion in late June, Mr. Edwards said, citing high infection rates in southwest Missouri and staffing issues. 

At Mercy Hospital, the intensive care unit is full, Mr. Frederick told NPR July 3. "It looks very much like it looked last year," he said, "exception being we do have younger patients in the ICU than what we saw last year." 

Mr. Frederick attributed the hospitalization of more, "younger, otherwise healthy patients," to the delta variant, which is now the most commonly circulating strain in the U.S.  

Both leaders have been actively tweeting about the situation at their respective hospitals.

On July 4, Mercy Hospital "spent the night looking for ventilators because we ran out. 47 patients on vents. A lot of those are COVID but not all," according to a tweet from Mr. Frederick.

Mr. Edwards took to the platform July 1 to urge people to stop spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. "If you are making wildly disparaging comments about the vaccine, and have no public health expertise, you may be responsible for someone’s death. Shut up," he tweeted.  


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