Minnesota family says their loved one died after waiting for ICU bed

A family in northwestern Minnesota says their loved one died after waiting two days for an ICU bed. This comes as hospitals across the region report little to no room in their critical care units due to the pandemic.

87-year-old Bob Cameron was taken by ambulance to Kittson Memorial Hospital in Hallock, Minnesota on October 10. The family says once doctors there discovered internal bleeding, they worked tirelessly to find Cameron a transfer to a higher level hospital but none had room.

"They did everything they could, and they were trying constantly to find somewhere for him to go," recalled Cameron’s daughter Julie Lindegard. "There was not one ICU bed open in Minnesota—not even down to Mayo."

Lindegard said the staff couldn’t find an open ICU bed in North Dakota or Minnesota.

Things were further complicated when a routine COVID-19 test came back positive. Cameron, who is fully vaccinated and just received his booster, then had to wait for a COVID specific ICU bed. 

Two days after entering the Emergency Department, Cameron was finally transferred to Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota. He died shortly thereafter.

"I mean, it’s been heartbreaking because he was such an amazing human, and it’s frustrating because it shouldn’t be this way," Cameron’s granddaughter Jana Curry said.

COVID-19 cases represent about 20 percent of ICU patients in both North Dakota and Minnesota right now, with the vast majority being unvaccinated patients.

Cameron’s case prompted his family to share their story and hope it changes someone’s mind about getting the shot.

"Nobody should have to go through this. Nobody," Julie said.