Due to increasing numbers of people getting sick with COVID-19, nurses are noticing how many people are not taking it seriously or are just not believing COVID-19 even exists. Nurses want people to know what it’s like when you have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized. 

You go to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms only to be turned away and told to go home until you develop shortness of breath. In that case, you remain a patient on a hospital “floor” until you require more than 50% of oxygen. When that happens, it depends on your severity as to which level of treatment you require. The final effort is placing a patient on a ventilator in an isolation room in the ICU. 

When people reach the ICU, they imagine they will receive the ultimate patient care.

However, with the number of COVID-19 patients requiring ICU treatment on the rise and the fact that hospitals may receive permission to loosen the ratio law that limited the number of patients (two) an ICU nurse can have at one time, the quality of care is now in question. 

With some hospitals only allowing family into the ICU when a family member is near the end of their life, not much information on how ICUs are managing the load is getting out to the general public. 

A nurse who works at a hospital in the Southern California region, but asked to remain anonymous, told me that when a nurse is in an isolation room working with one patient and another one of their patient’s comes off their ventilator, they may not know right away because an already slim staff is very busy and the nurse may not hear the ventilator alarm when they are in another enclosed room. 

When the nurse does find out one of their patient’s is off the ventilator, they have to remove the personal protective equipment (PPE) they wore while treating the last patient, which takes about 3 to 5 minutes, then put on new PPE to enter the other patient’s isolation room, which can take another 5 minutes. That is about 8 minutes before a nurse can get into a room and put a ventilator back on a COVID patient. Chances are, according to this nurse, that patient will die if they are on a paralytic, and therefore, cannot breathe on their own. 

A patient on a ventilator is temporarily medically paralyzed with a drug (for example Nimbex). This is done so that the patient does not fight the ventilator. 

With all of this happening, this nurse cautions against people being out and about (except to do essential things) or going to places with social gathering and fewer restrictions because they may contract COVID-19, and possibly, end up in a situation where the quality of care medical staff is accustomed to providing is almost impossible to provide given the environment created outside of their control. Nurses also recommend masks when in contact with people and frequent
hand hygiene.