Area woman waits for critical brain surgery amid lack of hospital beds

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:56 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Hospital Association reports nearly 2,300 people are hospitalized with Covid-19, stressing health systems.

These hospitalizations are also impacting other people’s ability to get critical care.

Emily Houser, 25, of Iron Mountain is currently waiting to undergo brain surgery due to a lack of beds. She says her life changed in December when she was diagnosed with Moyamoya disease.

“I was having three, four, five of them a day. Back to back,” Houser said. “I was just trying to play with my kids and it happened to me three times in a row.”

It’s a rare blood disorder where the brain’s artery is blocked or narrowed reducing blood flow to the brain.

Houser was in intensive care at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay waiting for a bed to open at University Hospital in Madison for surgery.

“it’s a very critical time right now because there’s people who do need these life-saving procedures elsewhere, and you can’t get there, which is the most frustrating thing,” she said.

After about a week and a half at St. Vincent, Houser says she was presented with an option of either staying in the ICU or going home to her family. This past weekend she went home, understanding the risk.

“I live in a small town, so there’s no one here that could keep me alive. Like no neurosurgeon here that could keep me alive if I was to have a bad stroke,” Houser said.

As we have previously reported, Hospital Sisters Health System is dealing with a record number of patients hospitalized with covid.

RELATED: HSHS treating record number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals--majority unvaccinated

HSHS released a statement to Action 2 News:

We also contacted University Hospital in Madison:

Houser has an appointment scheduled for Wednesday in Madison, but she says there’s no guarantee she’ll be taken to an ICU bed.

Although she has health insurance, Houser says she’s so far received medical bills from her ICU stay totaling more than $100,000.

Her friends set up a GofundMe page, here is a link:

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