Coronavirus Coverage: Indiana doctor provides lawmakers with testimony from the front lines

“We are overwhelmed and we’re getting creamed,” he says.
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 10:07 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - During testimony before state lawmakers about vaccine mandates Thursday, an Indiana doctor talked about the stress health care workers are feeling as they battle the pandemic.

“We’re going through the fifth wave in less than two years and we’re all tired off it,” Dr. Donald Westerhausen said from the podium. “If everyone would get vaccinated, maybe we wouldn’t have a fifth wave. I want you to encourage vaccines. I want you to allow government and other entities to determine if they should mandate vaccines or not.”

Dr. Don Westerhausen is a practicing cardiologist and the President of the Indiana Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. “We don’t usually come to testify at things, but we had such an overwhelming response from my membership who are on the front lines of taking care of covid, that we should comment on this bill,” he said.

Dr. Donald Westerhausen
Dr. Donald Westerhausen(Fort Wayne's NBC)

House Bill 1001 says, “an employer may not impose a requirement that employees receive an immunization against COVID-19 unless the employer provides individual exemptions that allow an employee to opt-out of the requirement on the basis of medical reasons or religious reasons.”

“The legislature should not get in the way of private business with respect to vaccines,” Dr. Westerhausen told lawmakers.

“The unvaccinated are killing us,” he said. “We’re overwhelmed at the hospitals. We’re at the point now where if you have a disease that’s not covid related you might end up being treated in the emergency room for two to three days. I was just on call at Kokomo this last week and I had to treat two people in the emergency room for non-covid related problems. We are overwhelmed and we are getting creamed.”

Dr. Westerhausen also fears some hospital systems will soon stop elective procedures. “I don’t know if I should say elective procedures, but I should say planned procedures because there are no beds. So if someone who has a planned procedure for like a cancer surgery they’re not going to get it because there’s no beds and we’re just overwhelmed.”

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