President Joe Biden on Friday said that he personally called a Pennsylvania hospital after hearing from a friend who was turned away at an emergency room when she was having trouble breathing, The Hill reports.
Biden said in remarks in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, that his friend ”was having trouble breathing, had a high fever and could not really catch her breath. And they got her into the hospital, but the waiting room was so crowded, things were so backed up, they couldn’t even get her to be seen initially.”
He noted that this instance shows how hospitals across the country are having trouble finding room for every patient, and Biden added that he couldn’t blame the health care workers who were forced to turn his friend away.
“So, because I knew this person, I called. I called the desk, the receiving nurse, and asked what the situation was and has anyone even — and, by the way, I wasn’t complaining, because they’re getting the living hell kicked out of them, by the way. Doctors and nurses, some of them are just — they’re running dry.
“And to make a long story short, it took a while because all of the — not all — the vast majority of the emergency rooms and the docs were occupied taking care of COVID patients.”
He added: “I’ll bet every one of you can name somebody who got sent to the hospital with something other than COVID and couldn’t get it taken care of. How many people do you know — I know — who’ve had to put off elective surgery — surgery they need done — but they couldn’t get a hospital room?” he said.
“It didn’t mean they were going to die, in many cases, but some places in the world, that’s happening. You can’t even get to the — do the elective surgery that’s necessary, particularly for a lot of cancer patients.”
Biden ended his remarks with a call for Americans to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“So, look, things are changing, and we can end this,” the president said. “We can end this thing. It’s easy, it’s accessible, and it’s free to get the vaccine.”