OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A metro hospital gives Oklahomans a look at life on the frontlines in the pandemic. SSM Health Saint Anthony COVID Intensive Care Unit is full of COVID patients once again.
“Right now, it’s a lot of emotions having to open our COVID unit again. The strain on our hospital is a lot, and it’s not sustainable. So, we need our community to help us. We need people to get vaccinated,” said charge nurse Amy Petitt.
Petitt fought back the tears as she explained to KFOR how she feels now that the hospital ICU floor is overflowing with COVID patients.
The hospital has 18 COVID patients lying in beds on the ICU floor. Many of those patients are on their stomachs connected to ventilators.
And as more people get COVID, healthcare workers fear resources will be stretched thin.
“Because our beds are full all of the time, we have to decide when a bed opens up who gets that bed,” said Petitt.
Nurses faced the same grim reality less than a year ago. Once again, it’s becoming hard to care for non-COVID patients.
“It’s hard though being an emotional person and taking care of these people that are really sick,” said nurse Brittany Meadors.
As of Tuesday, Oklahoma has passed the 9,000 COVID death mark.
“I have zipped up too many body bags,” said Petitt. “We’ve seen way too many people die over the last year and a half.”
Healthcare workers at St. Anthony are hoping a first-hand look inside their COVID intensive care unit will make people get vaccinated and realize Oklahoma is in a dire situation.
“I hope that it doesn’t take your family member being in a hospital being on a ventilator or your family member dying of COVID for you to change your mind about the vaccine,” said Petitt.
The majority of the patients in St. Anthony’s ICU are unvaccinated, and most of them have expressed regret over that decision, according to Petitt.