Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital has setup medical tents
10 Best Hospitals In The World Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A new father in northwest Houston has been awaiting surgery for 10 days since he was shot outside a grocery store on Aug. 6. Joel Valdez was an unlucky bystander to a domestic dispute last weekend when he was shot six times sustaining gunshot wounds to his neck and shoulder. He was rushed to Ben Taub Hospital and he was badly in need of surgery.

According to the Washington Post, Valdez had confirmed on Monday that he was still awaiting surgery as the intensive care unit is said to be operating at 103 % capacity with 33 % of patients admitted being Covid-related cases.

A spokesperson for Harris Health System said that Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, a public hospital also in the Harris Health System, is similarly stretched at 94% ICU capacity of which 54% are Covid-related cases.

“Having broken bones and bullets in me for over a week now, it’s a little frustrating,” Valdez told KRIV.

In response to the surge of coronavirus cases in public hospitals, Amanda Callaway from the Harris Health System said doctors are required to triage a patient’s condition and thoroughly review surgical cases. In an an email, Callaway explained, "Due to strained resources, surgical patients are being prioritized based on several factors, which unfortunately may result in a delay of non-emergent surgical procedures.”

As the highly transmissible Delta variant brings in a fourth wave of cases, hard hit areas such as Houston are seeing strained hospital capacity. Meanwhile, Mississippi warned that the surge of cases has pushed the state’s hospital system to the brink of failure as Arkansas reported having only 8 ICU beds available statewide.

Officials in Louisiana also said their health system is already stressed and are days away from collapse, warning that ambulances may no longer be available to transport patients.

In Texas, ICU admissions are nearing peak levels that have not been seen since December. As of Monday, the average daily cases of patients needing hospitalization was 11,993. At the time Valdez was admitted, the total was at 8,632.

Valdez, a business owner, is lucky to be alive after being shot six times while putting away his cart at a grocery store in the 9100 block of West Sam Houston Tollway and West Road.

The suspect involved in the shooting was identified as Kendrick Green and was arrested and charged this week. Valdez can only hope he can have his surgery, and looks forward to the start of his long recovery.

Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital has set up medical tents
People wait outside of the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital on August 10, 2021 in Houston, Texas. The Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital has set up medical tents in preparation for an overflow of patients being treated for the COVID-19 Delta variant. The Houston metropolitan area has seen an upward increase of Delta infections, and research is showing the Delta variant to be 60% more contagious than its predecessor the Alpha variant, also known as COVID-19. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

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