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'It's a life or death thing.' Cancer patient told to wait for hospital beds to open to have surgery

Ky. Governor: 661 COVID-19 patients in ICUs
shelton
Posted at 6:04 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 12:44:51-04

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (WTVF) — Potentially lifesaving operations are on hold for people in Tennessee and Kentucky because of overwhelmed hospitals.

In Hopkinsville, Belinda Bailey is worried about what that means for her father.

"It's a life or death thing right now because it could be spreading," Belinda Bailey said.

Bailey's father Robert Shelton has bladder cancer. Their family has been unable to schedule him a surgery because of the shortage of hospital beds in southern Kentucky.

Her father is being treated in Madisonville.

"It's a waiting game, but I don't want to wait anymore," Bailey said.

According to Governor Andy Beshear, there are between 115-123 ICU beds available in all of Kentucky. Last week, there were less than 100 open beds, the first time that has ever happened.

Since March 1, more than 91% of COVID-`19 patients hospitalized and/or placed in the ICU have been unvaccinated.

Larry Shelton is Robert's brother.

"Am I just going to sit here and watch my brother die like the ones on TV?" Larry Shelton said.

He is frustrated that his brother, a Vietnam veteran with a purple heart, is in this situation.

"It's like he served his time for his country and like now this country is going to throw him to the wolves and kick him out the door and say I'm sorry this is the best we can do. I mean it's a shame," Shelton said.

Their family wants their neighbors to put themselves in their shoes.

"I want the people that did not take the shot I want you to think about the other families that have to go through this," Bailey said.

In Tennessee, the health department reports there are 1,034 COVID patients in the ICU across the state. They are part of nearly 3,700 COVID patients in the hospital in Tennessee.