ICU nurses and doctors detailing struggles in hospitals as COVID-19 cases climb


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The COVID-19 crisis continues in Oklahoma hospitals. An ICU nurse KFOR spoke with says the last surge “literally broke us.” And it’s causing a lot of nurses and frontline fighters to seek help for their own mental health.

“Everybody’s like, ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this again,’” said Nicole West, Mercy Hospital ICU Nurse.

West is describing what it feels like to be taking on a surge of COVID-19 patients all over again.

Photo goes with story
Nicole West, Mercy Hospital ICU Nurse

“Wow. It’s tough for the ones who have been through it already to see, to see these people struggle and die,” West said.

West was seen full of emotions on a Facebook video Friday morning, hoping for a light at the end of yet another dark tunnel.

“You’re in a room and you’re reliving everything again,” West said. “It just felt normal for a minute and now we’re back to full force COVID.”

On Friday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 2,851 new cases of COVID-19

Fifty-six kids have been admitted to the hospital because of COVID in just the past few days.

“We’re supposed to be that rock for people in their worst moments. Now we’re the ones struggling.”

Nicole West, Mercy Hospital ICU Nurse

OU Health’s Acting Chief Medical Officer told KFOR staffing is a major issue compared to the last surge.

“We don’t have the physician staff. We really don’t have the nursing staff to take care of all the patients. We have lost a lot of nurses,” said Dr. Cameron Mantor, OU Health Acting Chief Medical Officer. “We are stretched. Our emergency rooms are full. People are waiting. We can’t get ambulances to transfer patients.”

The burden is a tough one to carry for frontline fighters.

“We’re supposed to be that rock for people in their worst moments. Now we’re the ones struggling,” West said. “I have weekly therapy sessions and antidepressants to help.”

West says this time, she’s having to limit the amount of extra shifts she picks up each week to better take care of her family and also herself.

“I can’t make somebody get a vaccine. I can’t make somebody wear a mask. But at least I can try to save somebody’s life at work,” West said.

Mantor tells us a lot of nurses have chosen to look into different professions or have chosen to travel to other areas.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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