‘He knew he was going to die, it was simply when’: Nurses involved about unvaccinated COVID-19 sufferers

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – COVID-19 instances are rising throughout West Virginia, with the extremely contagious delta variant placing many extra unvaccinated sufferers within the hospital.

Nurses are being requested by their sufferers if it’s too late to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a remedy as an alternative of being placed on a ventilator. At Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds are being crammed again up with COVID-19 sufferers, after months of solely having a couple of extraordinarily sick individuals.

“The handful of patients who we have had recently, all of them are young, otherwise healthy lived and independent lifestyles,” ICU nurse Taylor Krisher stated about unvaccinated sufferers. “It’s hard for me because I see it. I work with patients who are so sick I can’t leave the room for 12 hours.”

Krisher stated many of the hospital’s COVID-19 sufferers are youthful individuals who didn’t wish to get vaccinated in opposition to the lethal virus. After battling for his or her life, numerous sufferers have instructed Krisher and her co-workers that they remorse not getting a shot.

West Virginia COVID-19 knowledge exhibits solely 49 p.c of residents are at the moment totally vaccinated.

A COVID-19 vaccine won’t utterly forestall somebody from getting sick, Krisher stated, however it would restrict signs to maintain most sufferers from ending up remoted from their household within the ICU for months on finish. The hospital additionally has a restricted variety of employees and tools that may present the care essential to preserve these extraordinarily sick COVID-19 sufferers from dying.

“The kids and other relatives were saying goodbye to him,” Krisher recalled one unvaccinated COVID-19 affected person she was caring for on FaceTime earlier than he died. “I was having to push medicine just to keep him alive long enough that he was able to say goodbye.”

“He knew he was going to die, it was just when,” ICU nurse Chelsea Ebbert stated choking up whereas desirous about one other unvaccinated affected person. “Then it was like, ‘OK, I want to get it to this holiday so I can spend some time with my family. I want to be able to watch the Super Bowl before I die.’ Just little things like that. It’s just hard.”

Ebbert stated each affected person she has cared for that was not vaccinated regretted their determination, and numerous affected person’s relations have additionally determined to go get vaccinated after seeing their beloved one’s situation. Many of those are individuals of their 30s or youthful who weren’t considerably in danger from earlier COVID-19 variants, however the delta variant targets.

“By getting the vaccine you can be protecting other people,” Ebbert stated. “Your parents, your grandparents, with this new delta variant it could be children. Just maybe, think of somebody other than yourself.”

“A lot of the younger patients that we see, they don’t think it is going to happen to them,” ICU nurse Morgan Knox stated. “They say that, ‘I am young, why would this happen to me?’ And then as soon as life hits and they are like, ‘oh this can happen to me,’ they’re like, ‘I wish I had just gotten it.’ They think about this completely differently. They are educating their families. They’re educating their friends that this is real.”

Knox stated if a affected person is fortunate sufficient to depart the ICU, they discuss ultimately getting a COVID-19 vaccine. She understands the issues round vaccination uncomfortable side effects, however stated it’s the most suitable choice for individuals to keep away from getting in a life threatening situation.

“When the patient gets to the point where they are needing to be on the ventilator and you’re the only person who is there with them, and sometimes these patients aren’t coming off the ventilator,” ICU nurse Lauren Sanetrik stated. “They either pass away or they end up getting a tracheostomy, so trying to get that phone call in with their loved ones right before they are intubated and put on the ventilator is really important, because that might be the last time that they actually get to speak to their family.”

“The hospital doesn’t slow down,” Sanetrik continued. “The unit is still trying to take care of everyone else who is sick, not just people with COVID, so it is a lot of people unfortunately having to wait to get into the ICU because we don’t have a bed to take care of them. We still have to take care of all the other patients that are still here, and when we do take care of the COVID patients, we are trying to be very careful of not bringing it home to our families. That is very stressful, too.”

The Ruby Memorial employees has labored very lengthy hours over the previous 18 months to take care of the COVID-19 sufferers on prime of different sick individuals. ICU nurse supervisor Chris Lindsey stated the hospital has been stretched to its limits and is worried what one other unhealthy wave of the virus may do, however he is aware of they will get via it if the general public does its half and will get a COVID vaccination.

“We’ve been resilient,” Lindsey stated. “We have come together as a team and a health system to take care of these patients just like they have around the world. Hopefully, this delta variant we are already seeing the worst of it. We don’t know what the future holds, but we will do the best we can to provide great care.”

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 dashboard stated 178 individuals are hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon as a result of COVID-19, and 64 of these sufferers are within the ICU.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department stated an unvaccinated 74-year-old man died from COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 WSAZ. All rights reserved.


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Brendan Tierney

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