NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT)– It’s room after room of glass doors shut in this unit. Deaconess Health says its ICU serves many COVID patients.
“Most of the rooms- almost all of the rooms really have ventilators in them. So most of our patients are on life support,” said Dr. David Ryon, pulmonary and critical care specialist.
Nurses told us at Eyewitness News during our tour on the ICU that you can find how many days these patients have been hooked up on to a ventilator etched on to these shut doors. Some are in there for weeks- and nurses said some of these patients are so out of their normal mentality, they’re unaware of what’s going on around them. That’s something just more than nurses see. Respiratory therapists also make up the ICU medical staff- putting them on the front lines of an evolving respiratory illness.
“It’s day by day. So you can go in one day thinking there’s nothing else we’re going to do and a miracle happens and they do get better and they come off. Then you have the ones that you have so much hope for because they’re young. They don’t have underlying conditions. They can get through this and they don’t,” Emily Bozarth, respiratory therapist, said.
Dr. Ryon told Eyewitness News about half the patients placed on these ventilators don’t survive the virus.
“It’s disappointing because you feel like you’ve worked so hard and you throw everything we know at them to make them better and you can’t. Sometimes you can’t overcome COVID,” Bozarth said.
“That’s the hardest part for me is watching the patients get worse when you saw light at some point,” respiratory therapist Brian MacGregor said.
These respiratory therapists said it’s a harsh reality they try not to let keep them down. Dr. Ryon said there is a pattern they notice in these patients.
“If you’re vaccinated and really don’t have much in the way of health problems, you dont really have to worry about this nightmare scenario of a ventilator,” Dr. Ryon said.