A doctor at Elkhart General Hospital says his staff is “overwhelmed” with flu patients in a season that’s turning out to be one of the worst he’s seen in years.
“Some days are absolutely horrible, and some days are just awful,” said Dr. David Van Ryn, an emergency physician with three decades of experience.
He said he’s been treating about 30-40% more people than during a normal period outside of the flu season. Most of the patients are stricken with seasonal influenza or complications from the virus, Van Ryn said.
“I think the national statistics are suggesting that this is the worst in about 10 years and that's the way it feels to us,” he said, comparing the 2012-2013 flu season to that of 2009, during the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic.
Staff are working extra hours just to keep up, Van Ryn said.
In some larger cities, like Chicago, crowded hospitals have had to turn new patients away, because there's just no room to treat them.