U.S. Army veteran Daniel Wilkinson died from a treatable illness, despite living just three houses down from an emergency room and within 60 miles of some of the best hospitals in the world.
August 28, 2021

When his tests came back it was discovered that Wilkinson had gallstone pancreatitis, a disease the emergency room he was in was not equipped to treat. When the ER doctor saw that his reaction was "Oh shit...," knowing that his patient's kidneys were failing and he didn't have much time. Before he could reach another hospital to treat the illness Daniel Wilkinson died. The procedure that Wilkinson needed would have taken 30 minutes and he'd have been back out the door. Instead, the morgue.

He was just 46-years-old.

Source: CBS News

When U.S. Army veteran Daniel Wilkinson started feeling sick last week, he went to the hospital in Bellville, Texas, outside Houston. His health problem wasn't related to COVID-19, but Wilkinson needed advanced care, and with the coronavirus filling up intensive care beds, he couldn't get it in time to save his life.

"He loved his country," his mother, Michelle Puget, told "CBS This Morning" lead national correspondent David Begnaud. "He served two deployments in Afghanistan, came home with a Purple Heart, and it was a gallstone that took him out."

Last Saturday, Wilkinson's mother rushed him to Bellville Medical Center, just three doors down from their home.

But for Wilkinson, help was still too far away.

His doctor was shocked.

Kakli told Begnaud that if it weren't for the COVID crisis, the procedure for Wilkinson would have taken 30 minutes, and he'd have been back out the door.

"I've never lost a patient from this diagnosis, ever," Kakli said. "We know what needs to be done and we know how to treat it, and we get them to where they need to go. I'm scared that the next patient that I see is someone that I can't get to where they need to get to go.

"We are playing musical chairs, with 100 people and 10 chairs," he said.

"We are playing musical chairs, with 100 people and 10 chairs." Let that sink in for a moment.

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