Texas ER doctor: 'COVID is kicking humanity's ass'

A Texas doctor who works in his hospital’s emergency department said COVID-19 is “kicking humanity’s ass,” as the state and nation continue to struggle with spiking cases amid a summer surge.

Hasan Kakli, who works at the El Campo Memorial Hospital Emergency Department in Texas, told CBS News he was racing against time when trying to treat patients who need specialized care because of a lack of resources at his facility.

Kakli told reporter David Begnaud about one patient, Araceli, 50, who has been unresponsive since arriving at El Campo Memorial Hospital this weekend and is in need of an intensive care unit bed and an evaluation by a cancer specialist.

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Neither, however, is available at Kakli’s hospital.

Kakli said he has tried to transfer Araceli to a Houston cancer hospital that has the resources she needs, but it would not accept her because it is overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

“So at this point, it's kind of like, we need help. If she didn't have the malignancy and we had an open ICU bed, we would take care of her here,” he added.

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He said the wait times for emergency rooms are longer than ever observed before.

“You would never see four digits on minutes since checked in. We're four digits, thousands of minutes; we've never seen this, ever. Ever,” Kakli said.

Kakli said he is seeing the same situation at his facility: Of the 20 patients at his hospital’s emergency room, only one was admitted without the coronavirus.

He said circumstances have been that way “for the past three weeks.”

When Kakli eventually found a facility for Araceli, he remained frustrated that it took so long to transfer his ailing patient.

“It shouldn't take five days and four phone calls to make this happen,” he said.

“It's sad that we're all relieved and happy that we got a patient out after four days; that's where the bar is right now. Like, we got them out eventually, and kudos to the entire staff here, the other ER docs who have been keeping the patients alive for as long as we have. If we get through this, the team that we have here, our bond is going to be that much stronger if we get through this,” he added.

The U.S. is seeing a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases, driven largely by the highly infectious delta variant.

Delta, which is more contagious that previous versions of the virus, is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

The majority of recent hospitalizations and deaths, however, have mainly been among unvaccinated individuals, a testament to the effectiveness of vaccines in protecting against serious illness.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Texas has been on the rise since the beginning of July.

On Sunday, roughly 6,800 new infections were reported in the state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 Dashboard.