LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Medical professionals from Covenant Health shared stories from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday.
Nurses shared stories about patients who died from the disease, while others explained what goes on during their long shifts. Doctors talked about what they do to keep everyone safe, including themselves.
"A lot of people get focused on hospital bed availability. A hospital bed is just that, a bed in the hospital. The most important resource in the hospital are the people taking care of the sick. We can create thousands of beds in the hospital, if there’s no one to take care of them, what is the point in having the bed?” said Dr. Brian Williams, a Pulmonologist at Covenant Health.
Dr. Shannon Turnbow said treating COVID patients requires a completely different set of procedures than with other patients.
“We’ve gotten really ingenious with these patients because they’re so difficult to care for. Like in an ICU when there’s a catastrophe, if somebody has a sudden cardiac arrest, we can’t just drop everything and run in the room. We have to gown, and glove and mask, because we have to protect ourselves as well as the patient,” Dr. Turnbow said.
Covenant officials say there are seven full COVID floors. That means one in three patients have COVID-19 at Covenant Medical Center. Some COVID patients end up waiting in the emergency room for hours before they can get a bed.
“We’re here to take care of you. We really are, but the hardest part is that we are full. These people that are in rooms are waiting hours to get upstairs because we have nowhere to put them,” ER Nurse Brooklyn Fleming said.
The full COVID floors are causing a trickle down effect, impacting the emergency room.
“If you don’t have COVID, and you’re in a ‘door’ room and somebody comes in and they have COVID and they’re not doing okay and they need immediate care, guess what? That person with COVID is getting your room. We’re taking you out and you’re having to be in the hallway to continue to receive your care.”
The panel is asking everyone in the community to help get our hospital numbers down.
“We have to do our part in the community to help reduce the strain on the hospital system,” Dr. Williams said, “because when it comes to an individual somebody that gets sick, they come to the hospital they expect to get taken care of. It’s not just being put in a bed. You have to have the people and the resources to do that.”
You can watch the full news conference in the video below.