COVID-19 patients at Mercy Washington ICU are unvaccinated, health expert says


ST. LOUIS – Intensive care units are filling up all over the St. Louis metro area.

A little more than a month ago, the number of COVID-19 patients that were in all of Mercy’s hospitals was less than 100, now were over 500, with over 200 of them in the ICU.

Dr. David Tannehill, clinical director of critical care medicine at Mercy Hospital Washington, says patients are getting really sick really fast. And the only real way to keep people out of the ICU and off ventilators is to get vaccinated.

“The whole time I have worked at this hospital, I have taken care of more people on ventilators the last few days,” Tannehill said.

He said none of the patients in Mercy Washington’s ICU are vaccinated.

“I have yet to take care of someone who has been vaccinated,” Tannehill said.

“It’s very clear from looking at literature and studies, and my own experience, and talking my colleagues, and looking across Mercy, the difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated is huge.”

Patients on ventilators are not dying at a rate equal to previous surges, however, Tannehill says it’s too early to compare. 

He says most patients are in their 40s and 50s. He does believe if more people got vaccinated there would be fewer hospitalizations and the community viral replication would be much lower. 

“The experts in their field, people who study this in my field, and its been very consistent in what they have been publishing, that masking helps, social distancing helps, and above all us, vaccination helps,” Tannehill said.

As much as Tannehill is begging people to get vaccinated, he does say this. 

“This is a very important point to understand just because you have been vaccinated doesn’t mean the virus won’t get into your body, and you can still spread the virus but you won’t get sick.”

“With as many people who have been vaccinated, if there were very serious problems with the vaccine, I would have seen that in my ICU, and I have seen zero patients in the ICU because of a vaccine-related problem,” Tannehill said.

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