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He Survived Two Tours in Afghanistan, But Died From a Treatable Illness Because Hospitals Were Overcrowded With Unvaxxed Covid Patients (Picture)

  Daniel Wilkinson   survived two deployments in Afghanistan while serving with the United States Army, only to return home and be killed by...


Daniel Wilkinson survived two deployments in Afghanistan while serving with the United States Army, only to return home and be killed by the ignorance of his fellow Americans.

As CBS This Morning reported on Friday, Wilkinson died in at a VA facility in Houston, Texas this week after he was airlifted there from another hospital. After he fell ill on Saturday, his mother rushed him to Bellville Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with gallstone pancreatitis, which is not a condition the facility is able to treat. Dr. Hasan Kakli, who examined Wilkinson, made a series of calls to area hospitals to secure the veteran an ICU bed. It was in vain.

While the hospitals Dr. Kakli phoned did have doctors who could treat Wilkinson, there weren’t any beds available because ICUs in the area were and remained overwhelmed with patients who have Covid-19, which so far has killed 635,000 Americans.

Eventually Wilkinson was transported to a Houston hospital after a bed opened up, but by the time he arrived, it was too late.

“They weren’t able to do the procedure on him because it had been too long,” his mother Michelle Puget told CBS. “They told me that I had to make a decision, and I knew how Danny felt; he didn’t want to be that way. And, so, we were all in agreement that we had to let him go.”

Wilkinson was 46.

“I’ve never lost a patient from this diagnosis, ever,” said Kakli.

“We are playing musical chairs, with 100 people and 10 chairs,” said the doctor. “When the music stops, what happens? People from all over the world come to Houston to get medical care and, right now, Houston can’t take care of patients from the next town over. That’s the reality.”

Quite obviously, Wilkinson’s death was avoidable had it not been for the fact that tens of millions of his fellow Americans are too ignorant to get a free vaccine that could spare them and others hospitalization or death from Covid-19. Whatever valid concerns one may have had earlier this year about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness have been blown to smithereens by the mountain of data now available on this matter.

While some vaccinated Americans are experiencing breakthrough cases of Covid-19, CDC numbers released earlier this month show that more than 99% of fully vaccinated people have not had a case that has resulted in hospitalization or death. Moreover, the number of fully vaccinated Americans currently stands at 172 million. Since adverse side effects of vaccines manifest within days or weeks, any widespread negative reactions deriving from the vaccines would have already developed among at least some people in this enormous sample size.

Meanwhile, in places where vaccine hesitancy and denialism are high, ICUs continue to be overwhelmed. That includes Texas, where earlier this month 53 hospitals in the state reported they had no available ICU beds. The data on breakthrough case fatalities mostly reflects the aforementioned CDC data. From early February to mid July, 8,787 Texans died from Covid. Of those, 43 – or just 0.5% – were fully vaccinated, and of those 43, three quarters had an underlying condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or chronic lung disease.

Just days before Wilkinson died, the Taliban captured Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan where he’d served and earned a Purple Heart. The fall of Afghanistan, we’ve been told by various talking heads and other pundits, is one of the most embarrassing occurrences to befall the United States in its history. Maybe that’s true.

But it’s one thing to fail to try to build a democracy on the other side of the globe while also fending off a horde of religious zealots. It’s quite another to fail to provide basic life-saving care in your own country to a sick person because millions of his fellow Americans are refusing to get a free vaccine against a virus that is now landing them in hospitals en masse.

No doubt many people thanked Daniel Wilkinson for his service over the years, which is a nice gesture, but ultimately it’s nothing compared to getting the goddamn vaccine.

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