Orange County

‘We are in a state of emergency’: Orlando surgeon says hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando surgeon took to social media to share an alarming message with thousands of people and beg for help.

“We are in a state of emergency in Orlando,” Dr. Sam Atallah said.


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He said area hospitals that he works in are overflowing with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients and says there’s nowhere left to put them.

While tagging the governor and president, he ends the tweet by saying, “we need a field hospital.”

“Our healthcare systems right now in Central Florida are overwhelmed,” Atallah said.

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Atallah, who works out of several Orlando-area hospitals, said he’s extremely worried about the next few weeks.

“To give you an example, the hospital we just came from has two separate wards, a medical ward and a surgical ward. The medical ward is 100% COVID patients,” he said.

He said the ICUs are full too, and nurses and technicians who work in the operating room are now being used to treat COVID-19 patients.

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“All of the area hospitals are worried. I’m worried too. Because we’re running out of the capacity, we’re running out of the resources to take care of all the other patients,” Atallah said.

Channel 9 checked with the Florida Hospital Association and found 28% of all hospitalizations in Orange County are COVID-19 related right now, but statewide, it’s 145% of the peak last summer.

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The association also said 85% of hospital beds are being used statewide and 90% of ICU beds are full.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.