A senior ICU nurse in Sydney, tasked with looking after NSW’s sickest patients, has admitted she’s no longer able to promise Covid patients that they’ll wake up from their comas, as the Delta strain wreaks havoc on the state’s hospitals.
Michelle Rosentreter described Sydney’s hospital situation as “extreme” and “exhausting”.
“With our Covid patients and the pressures on our staff and our system it’s … very exhausting. Our patients are very, very sick. They come in critically unwell. They don’t slowly deteriorate, they’re already at that dire state the minute we see them,” she told The Project tonight.
Ms Rosentreter said coronavirus was so serious that nurses gave Covid patients a different message to others.
When patients need to be put in an induced coma, nurses typically tell the patient they’ll see them in a few days when they wake up.
But with Covid patients, ICU nurses aren’t able to promise them they’ll see them soon.
“We can’t … you don’t always have a guarantee in intensive care that you’ll survive, that you’ll stay with us, and the key word there is survival. It’s intensive care for a reason but what we do know about Delta, what we do know about the Covid-19 virus, is that it’s a killer,” Ms Rosentreter said.
“So, we don’t put ourselves in a situation of doing that.
“It’s emotionally very hard to tell a patient that you’re going to wake them up in a couple of days and in the matter of a couple of weeks you’re at the end stage with them.
“You’re Skyping with their family so they can say goodbye at the bedside and it’s the nurse holding their hand and doing anything – saying whatever the family want into their loved one’s ear and then being able to, you know, give some dignity in death while they’re hooked up with all the machines.”