Overwhelmed With COVID Patients, Oregon Hospitals Postpone Surgeries And Cancer Care

NPR

It's a bad time to get sick in Oregon. That's what many doctors are telling their patients and the public as hospitals full of COVID-19 patients have been forced to postpone some treatments of other medical conditions.

Charlie Callagan's scheduled bone-marrow transplant was postponed. Now he's waiting for a new surgery date, hunkered down at his home in Merlin, a small Rogue Valley town in southern Oregon.

Though he looks perfectly healthy, sitting in the smoky summer air on his outdoor deck, Callagan, 72, has multiple myeloma, a blood cancer of the bone marrow.

"It affects the immune system; it affects the bones," he says. "I had a PET scan that described my bones as looking 'kind of swiss cheese-like.'"

Callagan is a retired National Parks ranger. Fifty years ago, he served in Vietnam. This spring, doctors identified his cancer as one of those linked to exposure to Agent Orange, the defoliant used during the war.

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Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 11:04am

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