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'We're Exhausted, Heartbroken': Minnesota Doctors Plea For People To Get Vaccinated

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota doctors are sounding the alarm about the dire state of hospitals amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, health care workers from across the state gathered in the Twin Cities to share stories about what it's like where they work. Minnesota currently has the seventh highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country.

"Many of us are starting to feel helpless because we've been living this crisis for so long," said Dr. Shirlee Xie.

She and other doctors painted a grim picture of the reality of their ability to treat patients under the strain of the COVID surge on top of other illnesses.

"If you get in a car accident today, if you have a heart attack, if you have a stroke today, we may not be able to help you," said Dr. Alice Mann, of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians.

Doctors say hospitals are out of beds to treat patients.

"This has never happened in our lifetimes," Mann said.

Ron, who recently had fluid removed from his lungs, says doctors had to treat him in a different area because there was no ICU space.

"There were 20 to 30 people out on the floor who hadn't even gotten in yet," Ron said.

Dr. Heidi Thorson, a maternal and fetal medicine doctor, treats unvaccinated expecting mothers at Allina Health.

"Imagine moms undergo caesarean while they're intubated, they don't know they're about to have their baby," Thorson said.

Doctors say they are doing everything they can to provide adequate care, but are pleading with the public to do what they can to help by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and avoiding crowds.

"We are exhausted and heartbroken and terrified," said Dr. Shirlee Xie, an HCMC Hospitalist.

"Caring is not political, it's not radical, it's not a sign of weakness. Caring is fundamentally human and right now we need your help," said Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, a Hennepin Healthcare Pediatrician.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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