“It is demoralizing”; The view from the within of the overcrowded intensive care ground leaves UF well being nurses and docs dissatisfied

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Doctors and nurses said they were not only exhausted but disappointed with the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients admitted to UF Health Shands and one patient there says the fight against that Virus was terrifying.

The delta variant of COVID-19 has swept through north-central Florida and the nation.

“We were literally at full capacity for hours to days,” said Harvey Norton, the nurse’s clinical manager.

Doctors and nurses have faced a surge in this virus, but they say it has never been. Dr. Divya Patel described it as demoralizing.

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“To see that a lot of people in our community and outside of our community are seriously ill and then I also noticed that the patients are much younger this time … we were quite disappointed,” said Dr. Patel.

Her disappointment comes from the simple fact that there is a vaccine and she says that not enough people are getting the vaccine.

94 percent of infected patients are unvaccinated and hundreds are stuck in hospital beds, some on ventilators and others who are no longer seen the next day.

Nurse Oka Wright said the 30-bed intensive care unit (ICU) floor TV20 is occupied and they have nearly 50 other intensive care patients on different floors.

“On any given day, I could see all 30 on this unit and possibly another 20 or 30 on other units,” Wright said.

There are so many patients that any non-emergency surgery that requires an ICU stay or an overnight stay will be postponed.

“Probably 90 percent of our patients are dedicated to individual care, but we don’t have the staff to do it, but we have contingency plans to make it happen,” said Norton.

Colon cancer survivor Arlin Cook was admitted a few days ago after contracting the virus in his wife and said he could not eat for almost four days.

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“It was scary, it was tough,” said Cook, “it’s an everyday thing. You can make progress today and you can get worse tomorrow. You just don’t know It is the ignorance that makes it terrifying. “

With the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients occupying the intensive care unit, experienced nurses are required to teach other nurses how to care for patients on this floor. They said the morale was very different this time with this spike and they were just tired.

“We’re working harder than ever and more people are dying than ever,” Wright said. “Many in the community go on with their day-to-day business and pretend nothing is going on.”

Cook said he wished he wouldn’t wait to get the vaccination and as he continues his fight he encourages everyone to roll up their sleeves.

“I would recommend anyone to get vaccinated because it’s not worth it,” said Cook.

Nurses and doctors said the best way to show them your appreciation is to get the vaccine.

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