Doctor says many hospitalized COVID patients express remorse

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the Delta variant takes hold in Los Angeles County and severe illnesses rise, many health care workers say they feel like they're reliving the start of another nightmare.

Inside hospitals, the halls are filled with a collective anguish.

"We are so frustrated. We are so upset and so frustrated because I think this feels like it shouldn't have to be this way," said Dr. Oren Friedman, an ICU physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

He said nearly 100% of hospital admissions are unvaccinated. Many expressed remorse. One man's story haunts Friedman.

"I could see unbelievable regret. He was nervous. He's anxious. I can tell you he's not expected to survive, and I think: All I can say to the public is, you don't want to be in this situation," the doctor said. "Trust us -- you don't want to be in the hospital saying, I regret not getting a vaccine. Just do it."

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The wounds of last winter's patient surge are still raw.

"It nearly broke us. People wanted to quit their job. People were exhausted. People were away from their families, people were seeing death and destruction everyday," said Friedman. "This was misery. I mean, it just cracked it to the core. And here we see the cases going up again -- it's like PTSD for us."

He said that the brief time we were able to walk into places without masks feels like it was stolen from us. Friedman says not getting vaccinated is like playing Russian roulette -- and if you survive infection, the outcome can be as reckless as drunk driving.

"If you live with the virus, the virus uses you to get to somebody else. It's like a zombie, right? It's going to go through you, and then it's going to infect somebody else," Friedman said. "So making the decision with only thinking about yourself and your likelihood of getting through this is unbelievably selfish."
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