Woman had life-saving surgery pushed back because Tennessee's hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients A Tennessee woman's life-saving surgery was pushed back because hospitals are so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients right now. Nashville-based writer Betsy Phillips chronicled her journey, which she called an eight-month medical mystery, in a guest essay in the Washington Post. "It's terrifying to experience a medical emergency during a pandemic," she said. In January, Phillips' doctors discovered a lump on the front of her throat hindered her breathing. She was finally scheduled to have that lump removed in September to restore her normal breathing. Instead, a week before her scheduled surgery, her doctors called to cancel because the hospital was so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, even after being told due to the seriousness of her condition, she would be among the last surgeries bumped off the schedule for this reason. "I'm scared. I'm vaccinated, but a breakthrough case would be dangerous for me," she said. "I'm bone-deep disappointed. But mostly, I am angry. I did everything I was asked to do to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19. I wanted to do my part to end this crisis. Now, I wonder: Are there any circumstances under which my neighbors would do the same to keep me safe?" Phillips said she was frustrated that her neighbors weren't getting vaccinated, leading to a new surge in hospitalizations as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads - and that those people were getting priority for treatment. "I'm still so very angry that people who put their feelings before others' well-being get to be first in the hospitals," she wrote. Tennessee - which has one of the nation's lowest vaccination rates with just 43% fully vaccinated - is currently facing a new wave of new cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19, according to CDC data.