William Onieal, MHA, BSN, RN, CEN
As someone who is seeing what’s going on with this virus first hand. Please stay home and do not get exposed. You will be doing a huge service to our healthcare system.
Today was a really bad day. It has been busy as hell as usual, except today I experienced something I have never experienced before.
Who am I to play God? Who am I to make these decisions on who lives and who dies. How do you explain to 6 families that their loved ones died because the decision was made that their likelihood to survive was not as great than someone else’s. How do you tell the children of these patients that they died alone with no one there to hold their hand during those final moments.
These are the questions I asked myself after I left work, got into my car in the parking lot, and broke down crying knowing that 6 other families were never going to see their loved ones again because of a decision I had to be a part of. How do I explain to the families that there were only enough resources available to save 1 person.
I became a nurse for the same reason that many others in this profession chose to be a nurse. To do our best and give more of ourselves to our patients than we do to ourselves. We all took that oath to do no harm. We took that oath to advocate for our patients and families to see them through their worst moments. There are so many stories that we as nurses experience that are negative, but that one positive story overshadows anything negative that happens.
As this continues, you begin to feel numb as you hear the codes being paged overhead that they are doing CPR on another patient. They are doing CPR on the 6th patient within 3 hours that have more often resulted in futility because of this virus. You begin to try to just make it through the day doing the best that you can.
Everyone I work with is not just giving 100%, they are giving 250% literally. Nurses are working 16 hours on and sleeping 8 hours in the hospital to wake up and work another 16 hours day after day in what has become a war zone throughout this country. This is not unique to any one hospital, this is happening day after day in every hospital in the world.
So I ask, no I plead that you stay home, keep social distancing, stop this spread. If you want to help, this is your opportunity. Help by keeping yourself safe, wash your hands, and wear a mask so that your families are not placed into a situation where it is them versus 6 other people for which 1 of the 7 critically ill will survive. The odds are not in your favor.
I still love being a nurse and to work hand in hand with my team is an honor. I wouldn’t choose to be with any other team.
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