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Nurses at Bryan Health talk about second surge of COVID-19

“Look, these people are dying. I am holding them in their last breaths.”
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 5:51 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Right now, about a third of the Intensive Care Units at Bryan Health are filled by COVID patients. One hundred percent of the patients in Bryan Health’s Intensive Care Unit are unvaccinated and 100% of the patients on ventilators are unvaccinated.

Nurses say they feel frustrated with the community’s lack of trust in science and the harmful effects of not being vaccinated.

It’s been an emotional year for Katherine Wolverton and Taylor Kadavy. Both say in the second wave of COVID-19, they’re seeing younger patients getting sicker, and more death.

“Look, these people are dying. I am holding them in their last breaths,” said Wolverton. She said the experience has been frustrating. “We’re in the middle of this surge, and that a lot of these people aren’t going to probably get vaccinated. It’s been frustrating and hard to not be angry sometimes.”

Wolverton works on the Progressive Care floor at Bryan Health.

“We are going to see a lot more sick patients, we are going to see a lot more death. It makes you feel like giving up, like what’s the point?”

Kadavy started working in Bryan’s ICU in late January of 2020. Said Kadavy:

“I’m 25 years old, for reference, and I’ve been taking care of patients my age, my generation.”

Kadavy said healthcare providers are fighting a two-front battle: against COVID-19 and misinformation.

“The first question I get is ‘What were their comorbidities?’ It’s more whether or not you’re vaccinated at this point,” said Kadavy. “I think that is the biggest comorbidity.”

Wolverton and Kadavy both agree there is hope with the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and urge the community to get the jab.

“We don’t want patients to get sick from COVID. We don’t want to see you in our ICU,” said Kadavy.

But if the second surge continues on the track it’s on now, without any changes from the community, Wolverton said hospitals will feel the stress of it all.

“Our ERs are full,” said Wolverton. “People are having to sit down in the ER hallways because we don’t have patient beds because they’re all being taken up with COVID.”

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