Veteran dies of treatable gallstone illness because local ICUs were too busy caring for COVID patients

“The point should be stressed that the unvaccinated have essentially prioritized their own care over that of others by refusing to get vaccinated,” I wrote earlier this week. There’s no better evidence of that than the clip below describing the tragic death of Army vet Danny Wilkinson in Texas. Wilkinson had gallstone pancreatitis, a condition in which the blockage caused by the stone causes fluid to build up and overwhelm vital organs like the liver and kidneys. That was already happening to him by the time he was diagnosed, requiring immediate ICU care. Luckily, he lived right next to a hospital.

Unluckily, there were no ICU beds. And not just at his nearby hospital, but in greater Houston. By the time one opened up at the VA, Wilkinson had spent seven hours in an ER deteriorating.

He couldn’t be saved. Watch, then read on.

Why were so many hospitals so full? We know why.

People under 50 are being admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 in larger numbers than at any point during the pandemic as the latest surge of the coronavirus continues to tighten its grip on Texas…

As of last week, between 93% and 98% of hospitalizations have been unvaccinated people, depending on the area of Texas, officials said

More than 70% of Texans over the age of 50 are fully vaccinated, compared to only about half of Texans between the ages of 16 and 49 and one-third of those ages 12-15.

ABC reported yesterday on one UT hospital in Galveston, where two-thirds of the patients in the ICU are there for COVID and most are on ventilators. All but one are unvaccinated, and the vaccinated patient is immunocompromised. “To have two-thirds of your ICU occupied by one disease is virtually unheard of,” said one doctor on staff. Statewide, hospitalizations have almost matched the peak of the horrible winter wave in January.

Vaccinations had barely begun in January, so that surge was unavoidable. The current surge is inexcusable. And the fact that people like Wilkinson are dying is proof, if any were needed, that the costs of refusing vaccination aren’t being borne exclusively by refuseniks.

They’re getting children sick too:

I wrote yesterday about the new CDC study describing a case of an unvaccinated teacher in California who came to class symptomatic and read aloud to her students, unmasked, infecting eight of the 10 seated in the first two rows. A study in Israel also found that unvaccinated kids who live in communities where many adults are vaccinated are safer than kids who live in places where fewer are. “For every 20 percentage point increase in the share of 16- to 50-year-olds who were vaccinated in a community, the researchers found, the share of unvaccinated under 16s who tested positive for the virus fell by half,” per the Times.

Not surprisingly, then, Texas’s children’s hospitals have also been overwhelmed this month. Not all of that is due to COVID — there’s been a major wave of RSV cases this summer too — but some kids who’ve landed in the ER because of the coronavirus surely would have dodged infection if the adults around them had had their shots.

I’ll leave you with Texas’s own Louie Gohmert pushing alternative treatments on an audience recently instead of telling them the truth, that vaccination is the only option for someone eager to hedge their risk of being hospitalized for COVID. The cheers from the audience when he mentions hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are proof that taking those drugs in lieu of getting vaccinated is now a matter of tribal solidarity for some, not much different than the reaction if Gohmert had said something supportive of Second Amendment rights or impeaching Biden. It’s an applause line for a partisan crowd. Exit quotation: “[T]he Texas Poison Center … has received 55 calls this month from people exposed to ivermectin. The center took 48 such calls in all of 2020.”