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Methodist doctors warn about COVID-19 risk of stillbirths

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - In an update on Methodist Health patient capacity and the impact of the omicron variant, doctors reported a shocking development: They are seeing stillbirths related to COVID-19 infections in Omaha.

Methodist says their hospitals are seeing some of the highest COVID-19 numbers since the pandemic began, and are concerned about the forecasts for the spread of the omicron variant in this community. In particular, Methodist says their ICUs are at or over capacity on a daily basis and emergency departments are coping with numerous people seeking tests, vaccinations, and other care.

Meanwhile, Methodist reports that staff are caring for younger — and mostly unvaccinated — populations and an increase in the number of COVID-positive pregnant women, and pediatric calls are mostly COVID-related as positivity rates climb among that population.

The following Methodist physicians participated in Thursday’s update:

  • Dr. Sumit Mukherjee, pulmonologist and critical care coordinator, Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital.
  • Dr. Emily Patel, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, Methodist Women’s Hospital
  • Dr. Matthew Gibson, pediatrician, Methodist Physicians Clinic
  • Dr. Michele Williams, emergency department medical director, Methodist Fremont Health

Dr. Patel with Methodist Women’s Hospital specializes in high-risk pregnancies. She said she’s seeing the highest numbers of COVID-positive pregnant women throughout the entire pandemic, and it’s resulting in serious birth issues.

“Very dramatic increased risk of stillbirth and we, unfortunately, have seen that in our hospital and throughout the state. There have been maternal deaths in our state because of this,” she said.

While instances like this have been increasing over the last several weeks, resources are stretched thin throughout the Methodist Health System. Dr. Patel said her best advice is for pregnant women to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Dr. Williams urged the public to be patient when seeking urgent care as medical staff are doing the best they can in a difficult situation.

“Some of the patients and family members are really giving them a hard time. Like, ‘Why are we sitting in the waiting room? Why don’t you have a spot for us? Why can’t our entire family come back and visit this patient who’s in the emergency department?’ So what I would ask the general public is to be patient with our healthcare workers — everyone is still trying to do our absolute best under circumstances that are not what we’re used to and not ideal.”

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