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'A huge problem': IU Health doctor describes fear of what omicron could mean for Indiana hospitals

Posted at 10:42 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 10:53:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An IU Health intensive care unit physician who has been vocal throughout the pandemic fears what might be ahead as the omicron variant spreads and the state’s hospitalization count remains high.

Dr. Gabriel Bosslet, a pulmonary and critical care doctor, did not mince words about the trouble that could lie ahead.

“If everyone had been vaccinated, you and I wouldn’t be talking because my hospital would be normal,” Bosslet said. “Even if omicron leads to less hospitalization, we’re starting in a place where we have no slack in the system and that’s a huge problem.”

Data show omicron is more infectious than other strains and it’s already making up a majority of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, the Indiana Department of Health reported 2,971 Hoosiers were hospitalized with COVID-19. President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that federal medical personnel will be dispatched to hospitals in Indiana and five other states to help deal with the surge in patients.

“Best case scenario is with omicron coming, cases go high and hospitalizations remain flat,” Bosslet said. “Worst case scenario is omicron comes, cases go sky high people continue coming to the hospital who have COVID and we have no place to put them.”

Bosslet has chronicled the ups and downs of the pandemic on social media and provided the latest information on COVID-19. He has been a voice letting people know that those in the medical field are exhausted.

However, at this point, exhaustion is coming from more than just the physical aspect of taking care of patients.

“The empathy fatigue that we have when we've been screaming for almost a year to be vaccinated and inevitably when patients come into the intensive care unit, they're unvaccinated,” Bosslet said.

No matter what happens with omicron in Indiana, Bosslet said he and his colleagues will continue to work as hard as they can and pleaded with people to do all they can to help end the pandemic.