'They'll have regrets': UW Health doctor pleads for people to get vaccinated before it's too late

NOW: ’They’ll have regrets’: UW Health doctor pleads for people to get vaccinated before it’s too late


MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Frustration among the healthcare community is rising as COVID-19 cases surge higher than before.

UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof voiced his concerns on Twitter before starting a nine hour shift in the emergency department on Wednesday night.

"I'm about to start my shift tonight. It's been hard lately," Pothof said in the twitter video. "I'm going to see patients tonight that are going to have COVID-19. Some of them will be OK."

Pothof told CBS 58 he went on to diagnose nine patients with COVID-19. All but one of them were unvaccinated. One patient needed to be admitted to the hospital.

He said he considers that a good night compared to others.

"It's going to be hard because some of them can't breathe. It's scary for them. Many of them will be unvaccinated. They'll have regrets," Pothof said in the Twitter video.

Pothof has grown accustomed to busy emergency rooms over the past 20 months, but the decision people make to not get vaccinated continues to surprise him.

"Part of it is frustration, but part of it is this thinking what's wrong with the world," Pothof said. "Immediately (unvaccinated patients) are scared, and they're worried about what's going to happen, and then in the back of our minds, we're like, what were you thinking? Like, everyone knows that if you get vaccinated you can get rid of this fear."

Pothof isn't alone in feeling this way. More and more healthcare workers are becoming burnt out by the ongoing pandemic, especially as the new omicron variant becomes the dominant strain in Wisconsin.

"I think it's hard for everyone," Milwaukee County Chief Health Policy Advisor Dr. Ben Weston said. "Every time you think things are getting better, something new comes along. I think that's especially the case when we know there's a solution. We know that we have the silver bullet and that's these vaccines."

Defeating COVID-19 isn't something doctors can do alone. They ask that you do your part before it's too late.

"It's hard right now. I hope people can do their part. Get vaccinated. Decrease the number of people who need hospital beds, so that these other folks who are really sick have a change they can get the care they need," Pothof said in the twitter video.

Pothof also recommends that people don't go to the emergency room just to get tested for COVID-19. It takes up limited resources and it likely won't be cheap.

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