One ambulance ride leads to another in COVID era

Woman with kidney failure had to be taken 65 miles to find a hospital with an open bed. First, she worried she might die. Later, she worried how much it might cost and who would take care of her child. Similar stories are being repeated throughout the country because of the pandemic.


State News

January 13, 2021 - 9:55 AM

Photo by PBNJ Productions/Getty Images

Keely Connolly thought she would be safe once the ambulance arrived at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Kansas.

She was having difficulty breathing because she’d had to miss a kidney dialysis treatment a few days earlier for lack of child care. Her potassium was dangerously high, putting her at risk of a heart attack. But she trusted she would be fine once she was admitted and dialysis was begun.

She panicked when a nurse told her that no beds were available and that she would have to be transferred — possibly more than 450 miles away to Denver. She had heard a rumor about a dialysis patient who died waiting for a bed at a hospital in Wichita, about an hour down the road.

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