Florida family flies to Sioux City for cancer surgery due to lack of hospital capacity

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – When Jackie Wittstruck found out she needed surgery, her family didn’t hesitate to fly nearly 1,200 hundred miles but said it did cause them to fear for the future of the pandemic.

Just weeks ago, Jackie Wittstruck got the news she needed to have an emergency colon removal surgery but
The doctors back home Panama City denied her treatment saying, their beds are full with COVID-19 patients.

“It’s going to be 2 to 4 weeks before they can even look at scheduling another procedure, I mean, they’re talking about taking another 10th of the rest of her life away,” Grant Wittstruck.

Grant Wittstruck and his mother hadn’t planned to make the long trip but being told by multiple panama city hospitals there were no more beds available, grant posted his situation on social media.

“We kind of had a ‘holy cow’ moment, we booked flights that morning on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, we’re scurrying through the airport to get every on up here, and to get everyone up here, for my parents, it’s not an easy ordeal,” said Grant.

The former Morningside college student said flights and hotel accommodations have cost his family nearly $7,000 thousand extra in fees.

“It’s been outrageous, quite honestly probably, we’re retirees, we live on pension, social security and a little extra income, but this trip is probably going to cost $5-10,000 extra,” said John Wittstruck.

“For us it’s not just the expense of the airline ticket the plane flights, I had to shut my business down for basically three days for my side of the work just to accommodate this,” said Grant.

John said he strongly believes this wouldn’t be happening if there was a higher vaccination rate.

“It’s concerning that were having to do this because so many people have chosen not to get vaccinated,” John said.

Jackie’s had surgery and it went well. She is currently on the path to recovery and will be staying in Siouxland the next couple of weeks to rest up.

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