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Small-Town Kansas Hospital Suffers Greatly As Coronavirus Cases Rise; Radiology Technician Sleeps In RV To Be On Call As Only Employee Who Can Perform X-Rays

A Kansas hospital has run out of staff as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise in the state. 

The lack of workers at Rush County Medical in La Crosse has led to one of its radiology technicians opting to sleep in an RV in the hospital’s parking lot because his fellow co-workers fell ill with Covid-19 and no one else is available to take X-rays. ABC News reports that a doctor and physician assistant tested positive on the same day, leaving no one at the hospital with the ability to write prescriptions or manage patients for a short period of time. 

Unfortunately, the hospital isn’t able to turn patients away, as other hospitals nearby are also experiencing an overwhelming number of Covid-19 cases, ABC News reports. There are more than 2,000 people a day who are dying from Covid-19, an issue that is hitting smaller towns like La Crosse the hardest in the nation. La Crosse has a population of 1,300 people.

The radiology technician, Eric Lewallen, decided to camp outside the hospital in an RV to tend to patients as he is the only healthy staffer left who can perform X-rays.“I’m it,” said Lewallen. “To keep a critical access hospital open, you have to have X-ray and lab functioning. If one of those go down, you go on diversion and you lose your ER at that point. We don’t want that to happen, especially for the community,” he said. 

Michael Cooper, the hospital’s CEO, said he is looking to find more nurses, as staffing agents are paying medical staff $140 to $140 an hour. . “That is more than I pay my doctor,’ he said. Some nurses have taken Cooper’s deal and worked a straight week, ABC News reports. “We just kind of piece it together,” said Jolene Morgan, a registered nurse. Despite their small crew and their large number of Covid-19 patients, Lewallen says his team can push through. “It’s not like anyone shooting at us or anything, so I am confident we will get through it alright. It will just be a tough spell for a while,” he said.

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