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ICU nurses and doctors overwhelmed because COVID-19 is so hard to treat

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 20:24:15-05

Around the country and in Utah’s intensive care units, doctors and nurses are struggling behind doors closed to the rest of us.

But some are telling their stories through their own phones and posting them online.

Dr. David Chansolme spent a day recording his interactions on the ICU ward of the Integris Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma.

“Look at how many pumps,” Chansolme said while showing a rack filled with IV pumps and counting 10 of them. “This is one patient.”

Agnes Boivert is a registered nurse at the ICU in St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho.

“We go home with sore feet and sore faces, and it's perfectly fine because we do it because we love it, and to hear that we're lying… It makes your shoulders slump. I don't understand. I don't,” she said.

The charts below show a little about the toll of COVID-19 patients on ICU staff.

For example, COVID patients typically spend about three times the average time on ICU wards, each of them requiring extra precautions and more complex and ever-evolving treatments.

In Utah, the number of COVID Patients in ICUs has more than tripled in the last three months.

And those numbers amount to an ever-increasing percentage of Utah’s ICU capacity, meaning that each staff member is tasked with the extra stress, mental demands and heartbreak.