(Update: Adding video, comments)
After canceled biopsy, woman says: 'I felt an overwhelming flood of grief and fear'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- According to St. Charles Bend, the number of patients currently exceeds the hospital's capacity.
As a result, the hospital is initiating and implementing 'surge' plans to expand patient care into the Medical Diagnostic Unit (MDU), according to a Friday hospital notice a recipient shared with NewsChannel 21.
St. Charles says it's canceling outpatient and elective MDU cases to coincide with the move.
However, some viewers like Annette Hayden of Deschutes River Woods have reached out to NewsChannel 21 to express their concern with these recent cancellations to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
Hayden says she received a voicemail last Friday from her pulmonary doctor, saying her biopsy was canceled, along with her follow-up appointments.
"I felt an overwhelming flood of grief and fear," Hayden said.
She was set to have a biopsy for a mass found on her lung, which her doctor believes is a malignant tumor.
"I had my appointment set, and it seems to me a mass on your lung is as possibly deadly as COVID is," Hayden said.
Last week, Deschutes County set a record with a total of 569 COVID-19 cases, which has forced the hospital to cancel some outpatient and elective surgeries to accommodate COVID patients.
St. Charles' Chief Physician Executive Dr. Jeffrey Absalon says the lack of bed availability has forced them to think outside the box.
"We were out of beds and at one point last week," Absalon said Monday. "We had more than 20 people that required hospitalization that were being cared for in the emergency room, because we did not have a physical bed space available."
Absalon did, however, stress that not every outpatient or elective appointment is being canceled.
"If there is judged to be harm caused by a delay of more than two weeks, we absolutely go forward with those cases," Absalon said.
As of Monday, St. Charles reported 39 COVID-19 patients, eight of whom were in the ICU, six on ventilators.
But there could be a trend in the right direction, with 60% of those 16 and older receiving their first dose of the vaccine in Deschutes County, according to Morgan Emerson of Deschutes County Health Services.
To date, there have been 8,029 total cases, 5,981 recoveries and 73 deaths in Deschutes County.
The state is also tracking other COVID strains such as the U.K., Brazilian, and South African variants, which are considered more contagious.
But the unknowns in the future for people like Annete Hayden will continue to linger.
"I feel like I'm on the Titanic," Hayden said. "You can't get off, you don't want to stay on -- what do you do?"