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Coronavirus Watch: Lack of hospital beds delayed Shady Cove man's heart surgery in Portland

Sandra expects to have her husband John home on Thursday but she will tell you first hand that this process has been really stressful.

Posted: Sep 21, 2021 5:04 PM
Updated: Sep 21, 2021 6:12 PM

SHADY COVE, Ore. -- Sandra Ramirez and her husband John are living proof that love does not dim with age.

"Well, he is a very active 81-year-old and who builds cars,” Sandra said of her husband, chuckling. "He's very alert, mentally, no issues at all. But the main thing everybody knows him for is his cars. He builds hot rods."

The two have been together for 15 years.

"I’m a widow, he was divorced for 30 years or more, and neither of us were particularly interested in getting married again ... but we met and had so much fun together it just never ended,“ Sandra said. "I see people who have been married for 50, 60 years and I envy them a little bit, but I think 'that's okay, we're so happy, we couldn't be happier.'"

But as life usually does, it brings challenges and couples are faced with adversity. Sandra says that John's recent health struggles are the worst thing that the two have them have been through together.

“I was really frightened because there was a long period of time where he was very fragile because they started to do something here in Medford and couldn’t finish up, so it left him kind of fragile, and that's when we wanted to transfer him up to Portland ... but he had to sit here for three days — four days actually — before there would be a room up there,” Sandra said.

John went in more than a week ago for an angiogram at Providence in Medford, after he was having chest pains for an extended period of time. Sandra said that John's doctors determined he needed a stent for his heart, but decided to have the procedure done up in Portland. He waited those four days for a space to open up at Providence in Portland, and Sandra says that his condition got worse in the meantime.

“We finally got him up there — they actually life flighted him up there, Thursday night, late, and did the surgery in the morning," Sandra said.

It was only after John arrived in Portland that they learned he would need open heart surgery instead of a stent as originally planned.

"[The stent] just didn't work out, he was too far gone," Sandra said.

According to Sandra, the lack of capacity at Providence in Portland due to the surge in COVID-19 patients is why he couldn't be seen sooner. She feels lucky that John was able to get in when he did, when so many other procedures have been canceled or postponed to the strain placed on hospitals.

“I feel so sorry for the people who didn’t get in — and who need surgeries and they can’t get in — and that's got to be heartbreaking to know you've got cancer and you can’t get rid of it,” Ramirez said.

Sandra expects to have John home on Thursday after making the drive up to Portland and back, but she will tell you that this process has been incredibly stressful. She has not been able to see her husband since he was flown to Portland last week.

“The frustration for me, truthfully, is it’s been feeling like they are prioritizing Covid patients who didn’t get a vaccine over the other sick people who did,” Ramirez said. "And I don't think that's right, I think a certain amount of space should be reserved for the community. And if you didn't choose to get the vaccine I think you need to get in line, not the community. That's just my opinion. Because I very very avidly recommend that you get the vaccine."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 356061

Reported Deaths: 4275
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55695704
Washington38673322
Marion36719454
Clackamas29660309
Lane27624302
Jackson22982310
Deschutes20211125
Umatilla14451150
Linn12780130
Douglas12065243
Josephine9349196
Yamhill8674113
Klamath7965118
Polk733681
Malheur561776
Benton546531
Coos501294
Columbia379744
Jefferson372352
Union318449
Lincoln318039
Crook287546
Wasco287441
Clatsop243329
Baker202529
Tillamook196432
Hood River192137
Morrow184423
Curry180025
Harney113726
Grant100013
Lake92412
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4842472

Reported Deaths: 71202
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148181426506
Riverside3712935030
San Diego3660564183
San Bernardino3582135663
Orange3241845550
Sacramento1593332308
Kern1459621644
Fresno1458772084
Santa Clara1453911896
Alameda1205301400
San Joaquin1025821721
Ventura1009841166
Contra Costa998841008
Stanislaus860701331
Tulare80203967
San Francisco54375646
San Mateo54112622
Monterey50885587
Solano46021341
Santa Barbara45160523
Merced42299581
Sonoma40925402
Placer39342425
Imperial35999766
Kings32801322
San Luis Obispo29945332
Madera23876285
Shasta23851352
Butte23738270
Santa Cruz21018220
Yolo20353248
Marin17692244
El Dorado17169149
Sutter13913175
Napa12882100
Yuba1008582
Tehama9510110
Humboldt9243108
Nevada914290
Mendocino763687
Lassen754347
San Benito744472
Tuolumne688089
Lake6605104
Amador544064
Siskiyou450546
Glenn436733
Calaveras389381
Del Norte358342
Colusa307218
Inyo211140
Mono16703
Plumas16417
Mariposa133416
Trinity87711
Modoc6865
Sierra1880
Unassigned1820
Alpine1030
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