Sarah Koerber, a nurse in the intensive care unit of Lafayette General Medical Center, has seen her parents three times since mid-March. She announced them once.
They were told last week to stay in a West Virginia cabin where they would go on vacation for a month because returning home to south Louisiana was too dangerous.
Not just because they are at high risk of new coronavirus complications. It is because they are in danger of not having anyone to care for them if they require hospitalization for any other reason.
“The reality of the health care system right now is that because of how many COVID patients we have, the hospital can’t take care of any other illnesses or diseases that can happen,” Koerber said. “If my father had a heart attack tomorrow, and needed to have an open heart operation, if he went to Lafayette General̵7;s emergency room, there’s a very good chance he couldn’t stay there for heart surgery. If he has lucky, he can be sent to Heart Hospital. If he can’t, he can be sent out of state. I don’t even know if we can treat the broken bones now. That’s the situation we’re in. “
Coronavirus and hospital cases continue to slow in Acadiana, as deaths continue to rise with no sign of slowing.
Not as much space as the staff. And it doesn’t look like the situation will improve anytime soon.
As of Monday morning, a total of 181 employees tested positive for coronavirus on the hospital’s main campus. It represents about 6% of the 2,800 employees working for Lafayette General. Employees are tested if they are symptomatic, not on a widespread level, according to hospital spokeswoman Patricia Thompson.
The total number is not equal to the rate of new cases among employees, which Thompson said is a result of a spread of the community. Two months ago, only 20 employees tested positive for the virus. A month ago, the total number of employees was 40. Now, the number has grown to almost 200.
It is putting more pressure on staff who were already a race.
“We’re working with staffing agencies, and we have a lot, very dedicated nurses who work extra shifts and overtime,” Thompson said. “We know, as dedicated as they are, that the level of intensity is unsustainable. We continue to appeal to the community to follow the mask of the mandate and the social breakout guidelines.”
No matter how serious the new coronavirus is, there is no doubt about the pandemic that is shaping hospitals in the communities of …
Thompson said hospital administrators are cautiously optimistic that coronavirus cases are on the rise in Acadiana as there has been no increase in patients in a few days.
Even so, there is growing frustration among local medical professionals about how the community is reacting to the state mask mandate and the second wave of coronavirus cases in Acadiana.
Koerber has kept the most quiet on social media about what she has been seeing in the hospital since the pandemic began. It was a viral video where they said doctors are ignoring a known cure for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which inspired her to write a heartfelt post about what is really happening.
“I think lately, hopefully from a minority and not a majority, we’ve felt less support,” Koerber said. “We are feeling very overwhelmed and bombarded by the level of COVID and so there are people who disagree with whether it is true or deception or something political or conspiracy.”
Wednesday of her post she was doing the schedules locally on Facebook, as she has another passionate post – a letter sent by the chief medical officer of the Madonna de Lourdes Regional Medical Center to hospital staff.
Early this spring, Louisiana officials spent millions of dollars acquiring ventilators and personal protective equipment and building a facility …
Although Dr. Henry Kaufman IV did not intend the letter to be made public, Lourdes officials confirmed its authenticity.
Kaufman said the number of COVID-19 patients increased Monday morning at 82, and admissions continue the extra discharges. He said more nurses and team members get sick every day.
“I have no reason to believe that this wave of cases will diminish at any time soon and anticipate that we will continue to care for a large number of COVID + patients for the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “As a result, I fear that the recent trajectory of cases will reduce our community’s medical resources.”
Kaufman expressed himself in the letter to hospital staff that perhaps he is not seeing coronavirus patients taking the crisis seriously and assuring that their friends and family are doing the same.
“I’m confronted every day by individuals in our community who believe the pandemic is a hoax, that it’s politically motivated, that things aren’t as bad as the media photos,” Kaufman wrote. “If anyone doubts it, I invite them to accompany me personally during a tour of our ICU and COVID units. There you can see yourself patients in the second, third and fourth decades of their lives with minimal conditions. or without comorbidities that struggle to breathe. in the ICU along with those we can expect to be most severely affected by the disease. This disease does NOT only affect those who have significant medical comorbidities. “
Kaufman also wrote that in order for schools to open responsibly, “hospitals must have some reasonable capacity to handle the increase in cases that follow the return of children to school.”
Teams are working the shift after the change with some rest, according to Lourdes spokeswoman Elisabeth Arnold. The hospital administration is providing meals, washing scrubs, subsidizing child care and praying with staff.
However it will take community support to help medical professionals survive the pandemic.
“Where other places have allowed science and reason to guide their actions, the curve has been flattened and the disease has been curbed to the point where routine personal and business activities have resumed,” Kaufman wrote. “Here, in our community, there has been a lot of resistance to common sense measures and we are reaping the rewards of our obstacle.”
On Tuesday, July 21, 2020, Lafayette General Medical Center had a record number of 105 Covid-19 patients. These are photos shot during two hours …
Even though morale is low and employees are exhausted, Koerber said she witnessed such beautiful moments from her team at Laayay General.
Nurses decorated a patient’s room with pictures of Star Wars and went to the store to buy a watermelon at the patient’s request. They cried along with patients who cannot see their families, and are happy for patients who have been hospitalized after months in the hospital.
Her colleagues became her support system.
Koerber said the community seemed to support their efforts until Easter, but support has steadily declined since then.
“People are just more than that,” she said. “But the healthcare workers are more than that. We want COVID to be there more and be a thing of the past, and we just aren’t there yet.”
Kaufman concluded his letter with a directive to staff.
“We all came into medicine out of the common sense of the common good, to heal the sick and to alleviate suffering,” Kaufman wrote to his staff. “Right now our community is sick, the disease is ignorance and misinformation and you colleagues, you care. The patient needs your attention. Act.”