Staffing shortages brought on by COVID-19 pandemic causing issues for patients at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A 13-year-old boy with quadriplegic cerebral palsy is battling pneumonia in an Oklahoma Children’s Hospital emergency room bed while he waits to get into the ICU.

“We are actually being housed in the emergency room because there are no rooms in the ICU or places that he needs to be,” said DeBorah Boneta, who stepped away from her son’s emergency room bed to speak to KFOR.

DeBorah’s son is fighting pneumonia on top of quadriplegic cerebral palsy, seizures, being legally blind and nonverbal.

“[He] depends on me and everyone around him for everything,” she said. “He’s on a ventilator 24-seven and needs oxygen on a regular basis. And this COVID has put a shortage on supplies. When I order things they’re on backorder.”

Photo goes with story
DeKharai Boneta

DeKharai is also a miracle child to help their favorite hospital bring in funds, so kids like him can get the care they need in the state. This time, DeKharai may have to go to another state or Tulsa to get an ICU bed.

“We have received the absolute best of care from every level and every staff member, and they are stressed and they are short,” DeBorah said.

“We have a lack of critical care nurses to take care of kids in our pediatric ICU,” said Dr. Cameron Mantor, Chief Medical Officer of OU Children’s Hospital.

The doctor said the critical care nurses are leaving their line of work after the toll of the pandemic became too much.

“Some of them have gone to work for traveling companies because they’re making so much more money,” said Dr. Mantor. “The rate is five times more than the normal rate.”

Now DeBorah is pleading with Oklahomans to help lighten the load.

“Put on a dadgum mask! It’s so freaking simple,” said DeBorah. “Serve your fellow Oklahomans. Help protect children like my son.”

“She’s absolutely right. People need to vaccinate and people need to wear a mask right now,” said Dr. Mantor.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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