“My patient begins to crash…” A California nurse on the hardest shift in his career (The Guardian)

A nurse explains just how much it takes to keep Covid-19 patients alive in the sixth installment of The ER Diaries.

I’ve often wished people could shadow me for a shift to see all the different people who use the emergency room, the grown man who’s been suffering from knee pain for a month, the old frail lady with a UTI, the drug seekers and psych patients off their meds. Today, I desperately want everyone who subscribes to some half-baked conspiracy theory or complains about shops and beaches being closed to walk in my shoes for a day.

I hear it all the time on my days off: that this whole pandemic is blown out of proportion, that the numbers of infections are low given how many people live on this planet, that we should all go back to work and school and quit acting like this is any worse than the seasonal flu. But my job has never felt like it does right now. Never.

On a regular shift, I can easily manage the treatment of multiple patients on my own. And when I’m slammed, delegating a task like an IV start to another nurse is all I need to keep my head above water. Now, it often takes multiple people to keep one Covid-19 patient alive.

Today I’m trapped in a room for a few hours as the primary nurse for a Covid patient, staying inside to limit the times I go in and out. I stay gowned up because of our limited amount of PPE, and need another nurse to fetch me meds and supplies. Then my patient begins to crash. Two or three nurses come in and we fervently work to keep the patient from dying.

Meanwhile, another Covid patient is deteriorating in the room next door, and another at the end of the hall. Soon, our entire module is working saving just three patients. A dozen more Covid patients need to be seen, and if one of them makes a turn for the worse our entire system will come crashing down…

To read the entire article from The Guardian, click https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/14/er-diaries-coronarvirus-war-nurses-hospitals


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