Who Could Have Seen This Coming? Hospitals That Laid Off Unvaccinated Staff Now 'Overwhelmed'

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

As has long been predicted, the dreaded fall COVID-19 surge is upon us. People are spending more time indoors, vaccine protection is wearing off, and there’s a new variant in town. All the elements are in place for a fresh wave of misery for our overworked Healthcare Heroes.

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One would think that the people who run our challenged hospital systems would try very hard not to make the situation worse, but one would be wrong.

In a rush to be one of the cool kids, some medical systems got out in front of the Biden vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, demanding their staff come into 100% compliance with vaccine mandates or lose their jobs. Others waited until the last minute to let the workers go, even though the Biden mandate had been blocked by then. But in significant numbers, the affected medical professionals — actual, trained, sciency nurses, doctors, and others — decided they’d rather lose their jobs than take the controversial, novel vaccine. And so, in their infinite wisdom, the hospital administrators showed these employees the door, with utterly predicable results.

ABC News reports:

In central Massachusetts, the UMass Memorial Health System is, once again, completely overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

“We, right now, have more patients in the hospital, overall, than we have had at either of the two peaks previously. You come in one day and you say this is the worst we’ve ever seen it and you come back the next day and it’s even worse. This is very concerning, what’s going on right now,” UMass Memorial Health Care President and CEO Dr. Eric Dickson told during an interview ABC News Wednesday.

Shocking, considering the high vaccination rate in Massachusetts.

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According to Dickson, many of the hospitals in the UMass Memorial health care system are currently at-capacity.

“You can’t imagine how exhausted caregivers are right now,” Dickson said. “The biggest challenge for us right now is that our people are extremely, extremely fatigued. This is their third surge over the course of about 20 months, and that’s really taking a toll on them.”

How could this stressful situation have happened? Reading further down in the article, we see:

In addition, compounding its woes, UMass Memorial Health was forced to fire 200 employees last week after they refused to get vaccinated.

“Forced” by whom? This sounds more like an unforced disaster to me.

Nor is Massachusetts an isolated example. Pennsylvania’s Geisinger hospital system is facing an over-capacity crisis of its own — just over a month after it dismissed 153 employees who made the decision not to take the jab. Lawrence County outlet New Castle News reported today:

Patient volume compounded by the continued spread of COVID-19 exceeds capacity at all but one Geisinger hospital, forcing clinicians to treat patients in waiting rooms and hallways of Emergency Departments where people needing immediate care must wait up to 20 hours, according to hospital officials.

Unfortunately, the hospital administration is doubling down on the bad decision. Yesterday, Geisinger president and CEO Dr. Jaewon Ryu told PennLive that the firings were actually a good thing. “Believe it or not, we gained many hundreds of folks back into our workforce because we have fewer of our employees out on quarantine,” said Ryu, Geisinger’s president and CEO, on Wednesday. “We think it has actually added people into our work environment and not taken away.”

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Yeah, but … if you hadn’t fired the unvaccinated workers, you’d still have 153 more employees right now. Even if some of them are out in quarantine sometimes, some of them wouldn’t be. And anyway, with evidence becoming overwhelming that the vaccinated are just as efficient at spreading the virus as the unvaccinated, how long until you have to bring back quarantine for all staff exposures, vaccinated or not?

Related: New UK Study Proves Vaccine Doesn’t Stop Transmission of Delta Variant

You’d think a full-on crisis like the one hospitals are facing with the current COVID-19 surge would call for an all-hands-on-deck approach. It’s incredible that administrators continue to defend staff firings over vaccine mandates.

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