Just Keep Swimming

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Life for healthcare workers has been very busy lately because of rising Covid-19 cases in our hospitals. Especially for us who are Pulmonary and Critical Care specialists. This is even worse than last year. In one hospital that we cover, last week the ICU beds were all, and I mean all Covid-19 patients, most of them on ventilators and the rest on high flow oxygen. I was on-duty last weekend and there were a string of Covid deaths from our ICU.

We are so busy that we are pulling one partner to help cover the weekends as our previous scheduled rotation cannot handle the volume anymore. That goes without saying that we are working more and more long hours. We may be hitting burn-out soon.

I don’t want to debate for it has become such a polarizing topic and has been overly politicized, but I will just tell you my direct observation which I am seeing every day. Most of the Covid-19 patients we have in the hospital are unvaccinated. If there are vaccinated patients, they have some kind of underlying immunodeficiency. And I saw two vaccinated patients in our hospital, one is a renal transplant patient who is on immunosuppressive medications, and another one has Crohn’s disease and also taking immunosuppressive therapy. These are the two vaccinated patients I directly took care of so far. The rest, more than a hundred or so that I was directly involved with, are unvaccinated. You draw your conclusions.

It has become a numbing experience that I stop asking anymore if they are vaccinated or not, for I already know the answer. I just do my work and take care of them. This is a fight that I don’t see ending soon.

The morale of our group maybe down, but I like what one of my partners said in trying to have a positive outlook in all of these. He said “we just keep swimming.” And that’s what we’ll do.

But sometimes please throw us a life saver float.

***********

(Here’s a movie clip from “Finding Nemo.”)

4 comments

  1. The surge of COVID 19 patients in the hospitals It’s truly a numbing experience for nurses doctors and other health care workers it’s hard to keep the standard and often many expected norm flew out of the window. One nurse can be given 2 ICU and 3 PCU patients in her/his 12 hours shift. It’s easy to have moral distress.

    1. Yes it is stressful indeed. Since our ICU is full, many COVID patients even on very high flow O2 is being left on the floor, as only intubated patients and or on non-invasive positive pressure patients with COVID are admitted to the ICU. Some nurses on the floor would take care up to 10-12 COVID patients on isolation and on high flow O2 which is really not ideal.

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