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Mother calls for change after US Army veteran dies while waiting for intensive care bed


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – An Army veteran has died of a treatable illness after his family said he waited seven hours for an intensive care bed to be available.

Daniel Wilkinson, also known as Danny, has completed two deployments to Afghanistan and returned home as the Purple Heart recipient. Her mother, Michelle Puget, said they moved to Bellville about three years ago in order to enjoy a quiet life together.

“He just [has] a big heart, a big personality and a big soul, “said Puget.” In 2019 I had breast cancer and he took care of me for two years. He took me to all my chemo, to my office. [He] took care of me, followed up with my doctor’s appointment, everything. I mean he was just that kind of son. “

Puget said last Saturday that Wilkinson had fallen very ill. She took him to an emergency room just three houses from their home where he was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis. Doctors said he needed treatment immediately.

“[The doctor] said, ‘We know what to do and how to do it. We just have to get him to a facility to do it, “and they couldn’t do it,” Puget said.

Puget said staff called hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Due to the delta-dominated COVID-19 outbreak and overwhelmed hospitals, there were no intensive care beds available for Wilkinson, who was not a COVID patient.

After a seven hour wait, the Houston VA Hospital said he could treat Wilkinson, but by the time he was flown in his mother said his condition was too unstable and the doctor couldn’t perform the operation that could have prevented his death.

“This is something that no one should have to go through and I just pray that he will come out of it well, because every minute he was denied an intensive care bed he was dying,” he said. she declared. “Every minute counted.”

Puget said she wanted change in Texas hospitals. She said the state’s healthcare system needs more nurses, tents for overwhelmed patients and additional resources so that all patients can get the care and treatment they need.

“The doctor said, ‘I’m afraid another one will come along and the same kind of situation will happen,” she said. “Everyone should be able to get help if they need it. It is my wish. My wish is that his story could save someone else’s life.”

To learn more about the growing number of COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations, follow Roxie Bustamante on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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