7 months in: Amarillo critical care workers physically and emotionally drained

video: 7 months in: Amarillo critical care workers physically and emotionally drained

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Taking care of those hit hardest by the coronavirus for the last seven month, critical care physicians at Northwest Texas Hospital are drained.

As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the Amarillo area, the worry of exhausting resources grows.

Part of those resources is health care workers.

“If everyone could just walk into an ICU that are taking care of COVID, I think reality would hit you really hard.”

“The more patients we lose, the more defeated that you feel. It’s not a typical flu that we are fighting. This is definitely something more severe, more extreme and it’s exhausting,” said Erika Soria, director of adult critical care, NWTHS.

Soria says her and her team started off strong in March, but seven months later, the demand is wearing on them.

“You have to build yourself up before you come to work because you have to anticipate the worst because that’s just our reality right now. Our reality is we are loosing six people in two days,” said Soria.

Building yourself up, only to feel exhausted at the end of your day.

“You leave work and you’re exhausted because it is a different type of patient you are taking care of. It is physically a lot more taxing on your body than it would be to take care of any other patient,” said Soria.

Soria says when patients get bad, they are flipped on their stomachs, something that takes six nurses to do.

But now running low on nurses is a new worry.

“We’re opening our second ICU as we speak, of COVID. We filled up completely one of our units. We don’t have unlimited resources, especially in health care we don’t have an unlimited number of people. When we exhaust our resources what would we do, and I think that’s where we’re at right now is we are exhausting at lot of our resources,” said Soria.

Northwest isn’t the only hospital with this issue.

“We are only at 43 percent of our ventilator capacity, but again just because we have those ventilators, doesn’t mean we have the staff and the physicians to manage patients if we were at 100 percent,” said Michael Lamanteer, chief medical officer, BSA.

NWTHS says some nurses haven't seen their families in months.
NWTHS says some nurses haven't seen their families in months. (Source: KFDA)

Soria says some nurses haven’t seen their family in months while others are battling cancer as they continue to care for COVID-19 patients.

From a health care perspective, she says it can be frustrating making these sacrifices only to see people out in public not wearing a mask.

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