Family of New Orleans child battling brain cancer fears COVID crowding at hospitals

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — Ochsner says it was forced to turn down 175 requests for patient transfers from other hospitals in the past week due to the surge in COVID hospitalizations.

It’s not just Ochsner’s system that feels the pressure. Every hospital in the area is filling up and non-COVID patients are starting to see the consequences.

Walker Beery, 9, was diagnosed with childhood brain cancer two years ago and has relapsed twice. This time, his parents switched treatment and traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for a trial of immunotherapy.

“Any family battling cancer knows very well that there are several things that will send you to an emergency room, occasionally to an intensive care unit,” Taylor Beery said. “We are not free from that. Walker has made two trips to the emergency room in the past few days.’

His father, Taylor Beery, says Walker is still doing well and always keeps a close eye on his childhood brain cancer fundraising organization “Kids Join the Fight”.

“He finds joy and a smile and a dance at really incredible times,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t.”

This weekend they have a break from radiation treatments and wanted to come home to New Orleans but decided to stay.

“We are delighted to be in Birmingham, despite how much we love our care at New Orleans Children’s, because the demands COVID currently places on the home hospital system raises very serious concerns as to whether or not Walker will be able to receive the kind of treatment that he or she needs. he needs at this stage with this disease,” Taylor said.

The children’s hospital is very busy, but has not had to turn anyone away, and this week is welcoming a federal team to help with COVID patients.

“Incredibly committed, committed and caring people who are pushed to limits that are unreasonable,” Taylor said.

For the Beerys, it breaks down into simple facts. Their son, like many others, needs critical care and our health systems are compromised full of COVID patients who are 90 percent unvaccinated.

“There seems to be a disconnect between the understanding that supporting our families, supporting children with cancer and the way we approach the COVID pandemic are all deeply intertwined,” Taylor said. “I think a lot of the people who love Walker, who love our family, or who are very aware of the tragic underfunding of childhood cancer or the challenges these children face, don’t relate to what some of the decisions they make.” take” again, how that plays into the way those kids are taken care of.”

Walker will complete his radiation treatment in Birmingham on August 24 and Taylor says he really hopes the situation has improved as they prepare to return home.

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