CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — Frontline workers have been pushed to the breaking point.
Now, a Mercy doctor who's seen hundreds of COVID patients is telling his first-hand story of the recent surge.
Dr. Steven Brown is an attending physician at Mercy Virtual. He monitors COVID-19 patients through a monitor.
Dr. Brown makes hospital rounds virtually for three states, including Missouri. Right now, he's managing about 200 patients a night, 100 of them have COVID-19.
His shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. has been so busy, he hasn't been able to take breaks because of the volume of calls.
He says each and every COVID-19 patient did not get the shot.
"One-hundred percent of those who are requiring ventilator support, who were the sickest of the sick, have not been vaccinated," he said.
He said it's hard to watch, but what he's hearing is even more shocking.
"To quote the Princess Bride, it's inconceivable. It's flabbergasting and so exceedingly frustrating," he said.
Currently, there's a lot of misinformation spreading.
"I spoke with a gentleman last week. He said, 'I don't want to have the vaccine based on religious grounds. All vaccines are from aborted fetuses and I'm not going to take a vaccine from an aborted fetus,'" he said.
Refuting this idea, he said, "The data on the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine come from cell lines, which have nothing to do with any aborted fetuses.
"I asked him, what's your your source, you know I'd like to educate myself. He says, I didn't have to do any research, I talked to one of my buddies and he did the research," Dr. Brown said. "So, you know I'm sitting on top of a 40-year career, Princeton and Yale diplomas, extensive research, and he's going to go with what one of his buddies said."
Others said they fear the vaccine more than the virus.
A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows half of unvaccinated Americans falsely believe the vaccine is more dangerous than COVID-19.
"We have people say, 'Well it hasn't been adequately studied.' 'Everything was rushed with the FDA.' That’s ridiculous," he said.
With a rebuttal, he added, "We've known about coronaviruses. I've lectured about coronaviruses internationally for 15 years, it's not that these viruses suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The mRNA platform has been studied with over 30 years of research and people say, they got an emergency use authorization without any studies. Every drug approved by the FDA goes through a rigorous review process. I've sat in on live stream meetings of the FDA and it's very, very rigorous. The data has to be really good to get the emergency use authorization."
For some families, it's denial.
"They are smacked with reality standing on the other side of a glass window of room where they can't go in, while they're seeing people taking the last breaths and still denying the existence of the disease itself, still denying that there is a vaccine that can help them," he explains.
Other cases tug on his heartstrings.
"I've heard over and over and over again, 'I didn't think it was that bad.' I was taking care of a woman, talking to her husband, who was caring for her at home, he just wanted to do something nice for her because she'd been ill. He said to me, 'All I did was take her to the beauty parlor and out to lunch.' That was enough, that's how she contracted it. She didn't make it," he said. "He wasn't a conspiracy theorist. He was just a person who had not been adequately informed enough."
That's why Dr. Brown urges anyone who has questions or concerns, to reach out to your doctor and listen to trusted and reliable sources. He said the vaccine can be essential in the fight against the delta variant.