COVID-19 surge also causing statewide shortage of labor and delivery nurses

COVID-19 is not just causing a shortage of critical care nurses. Parkland Hospital says there is also a statewide shortage of labor and delivery nurses. 

The hospital that’s known to be one of the busiest in the nation for the number of babies delivered has to rely on other North Texas hospitals to help. And many of them are also experiencing shortages.

Parkland Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang told lawmakers this week that its staffing shortages are not just related to those treating patients with COVID. 

"I had to make the decision two weeks ago to transfer pregnant patients to other hospitals because of staffing," he said.

A spokesperson for Parkland said the shortage in labor and delivery nurses is a statewide problem. 

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FOX 4 wanted to check in with other North Texas hospitals to see if they are facing a similar situation. 

Methodist said in a statement they do not comment on staffing levels.

A spokesperson for Texas Health said they needed more time to answer our questions. 

Baylor Scott & White said in a statement that "this latest COVID-19 spike is putting extraordinary pressure on our hospitals. We continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases and execute plans to ensure hospitals have the staff and resources they need. Our labor & delivery unit is open and accepting patients."

Parkland says there was already a shortage of nurses before the pandemic, but the pandemic only made matters worse due to things like a lack of childcare, the need to care for family members and general burnout. 

MORE: Texas, Florida accounting for nearly 40% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S.

"Our workforce, our healthcare heroes have been at this for 18 months," said Stephen Love with the DFW Hospital Council. "Some are fatigued and burnt out and left the profession." 

Love says the DFW Hospital Council welcomes the additional nurses the state is promising to provide. 

"We don't know how many North Texas will get. My guess is 600-700," he said. "I don't know if that is enough, but we will take what we can get."

The state is promising to bring the nurses in from out of state.

Love says despite staffing shortages, people should not hesitate to get the care they need. 

"We saw in earlier surges, people were afraid to call 911," he said. "That had permanent damages."