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Patients are left waiting as ICU beds and emergency departments fill with COVID-19 victims.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, just outside Beaverton, is among many Oregon hospitals struggling amid a surge in COVID-19 patients.As COVID-19 cases surge around the region and across the country, hospitals are once again becoming overwhelmed and depleted of their resources.

Neeraj Gupta talked to KOIN 6 News as he waited more than 12 hours in the emergency room at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, just outside Beaverton. He said he's experiencing internal bleeding after complications with recent surgery.

"Diverticulitis is not a terminal (condition) or anything," Gupta explained. "It could be easily fixed, but there is nobody available to take care of me."

He sits and waits as the hospital is overwhelmed with new COVID-19 patients, along with patients who delayed surgery during the pandemic.

"All these people don't want to be vaccinated — yet they want to live and they come to this facility, clog it. I'm a patient who's dying and I don't have a bed," he said.

Debbie Sanchez, a Providence ER nurse, said her days are chaotic again.

"I came on this morning to 10 people waiting for beds, which means I have a full hospital," Sanchez said. "There's a lot of frustration over that."

For perspective on the rise in hospitalizations in a single day at Providence, back on July 6, the health system recorded 24 COVID-positive in-patients. On Aug. 6, Providence had 84 COVID-19 patients statewide across its eight hospitals.

Statewide, as of Monday, Aug. 9, there were 575 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in total and 148 in intensive care units.

Sanchez said thinking about the state the hospitals are in gets her choked up, frustrated and angry — not to mention worried about her profession.

"(I'm) worried about nurses leaving my profession, because they're really exhausted," she said. "That's hard. That's a lot of hard stuff to choke (down)."

Despite the wait times and lack of available beds, Gupta is grateful to healthcare workers like Sanchez for sticking it out throughout the pandemic.

"St. Vincent is a great facility — they have taken great care of me, but right now, their hands are tied," he said as he fought back tears and his fears of dying.

"I've had a great life. I came to this country with $6 in my pocket. I went to school, got a nice job, just retired from a quarter-million-dollar job. I owe my life to this country," Gupta said. "America is the greatest country. Don't spoil it, please go get vaccinated."

Gary Walker, a spokesperson for the hospital, echoed his plea with a similar message, saying this is not just a Providence problem, but a statewide problem.

"The way out of this is to get vaccinated, stay safe and do the things we know that work," Walker said.

If you need medical attention or a healthcare professional's advice immediately and can't wait hours at the emergency room, Providence Express Care offers online visits. The wait time is less than 10 minutes.

Editor's note: This story originally appeared on the website of KOIN 6 News, Pamplin Media Group's news partner.


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