BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) – Fourteen people have died from COVID-19 at Butler Memorial Hospital since Friday.
As of Tuesday morning, Butler Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Rottinghaus says 14 people have died from COVID-19 or COVID complications since Friday. He said it’s an alarming number of deaths in just a matter of days.
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William Buchanan, 76, from Slippery Rock died from COVID on Sunday. His son Matthew says his dad spent about 14 days at Butler Memorial Hospital. He says his dad was a relatively healthy man who was active in the community.
“In all the times we failed, he was there with words of encouragement,” said Matthew Buchanan.
Matthew fondly remembers his dad William as a guy who was always there for him and his sisters. He says he was a man who would do anything for his family and who always felt invincible.
“He took his vitamins. Did everything right. He thought he’d beat COVID no matter what happened,” said Matthew.
A few weeks ago, Matthew says his dad didn’t feel like himself. He later tested positive for COVID and ended up at Butler Memorial.
“They put him on a ventilator because his pulse and oxygen dropped which is critical,” said Matthew.
Matthew says things took a turn from there.
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“On Thanksgiving night, he pushed food away and knew how bad he was if he didn’t eat a Thanksgiving meal,” said Matthew.
Matthew says his dad didn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. Doctors at Butler Memorial say the majority of patients being hospitalized with COVIDare not vaccinated. In fact, out of the 14 who’ve died since Friday, they say only about four or five got the shot.
“The people that are vaccinated that we’ve seen that have passed usually have a substantial number of medical problems and issues,” said Dr. David Rottinghaus, like high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Dr. Rottinghuas stresses they weren’t all elderly. He said some were as young as their 50s.
“It’s all coming together in contagiousness of the virus, the reduction of the mitigation measures and absolute number of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Rottinghaus.
That’s why he stresses getting the vaccine now if you haven’t already. He says it’ll help lower your risk of winding up in the hospital if you do get it.
However, Matthew Buchanan, who also isn’t vaccinated, says he’s still weighing his options despite what happened to his dad.
“I’m still undecided right now. I just wanna do my dad the best and put him to rest and then move on with life after that,” said Matthew.
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Dr. Rottinghaus also stresses people should continue to mask up and wash their hands.