ICU nurse: Many patients still do not believe COVID is real, blame hospital for disease: ‘They call you a killer’

AURORA, Colorado (CBS Denver) – Kathleen Combs has been some of the most uncomfortable places of our time. She has now spent 19 months working at UCHealth Hospitals COVID ICU.

“My world is still completely COVID,” Combs told KCNC-TV in Denver. She has worked in intensive care units for 18 years and has been a nurse for more than 20. When the hospital asked for volunteers in March 2020, where the understanding of COVID-19 was a fraction of what is now known, with knowledge of lung problems, believed she was right for it.

“I’m one of many. I’m not the only one,” she said.

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There is a shortage of nurses all over the country. People who do some of the hardest work to take care of the sick in the pandemic. They have been through a shortage of PPE and staff. Through hope when vaccines came out and now disappointment when people refuse to get them.

“A lot of sadness, a lot of sick people, a lot of death. And it’s unnecessary at this point,” she said. “It’s emotionally draining for me now.”

Combs says a large percentage of critical COVID patients are now not just infidels, as she has seen with cancer patients over the years, but infidels. “However, it’s hard when you know you’re doing good for the patients, but they’re yelling at you,” she said. “They’re telling you it’s not real. They’re telling you you’re a killer.”

Some believe that the hospital makes them sick. “‘I can not breathe,'” she hears them say. “Namely. It’s because you have COVID.” No, I do not have COVID, it is not right. “I have had these conversations with people.”

Then there is the blame – on the hospitals, the doctors and the nurses. “That it was created by someone else or created by the media or the government or whatever. I have never experienced that … There are those who just absolutely want to deny it all the way until the moment when they are no longer alive. “

In addition to the people who are infected, the families are also angry, even though she keeps bandages close to their loved ones so they can communicate. “We are receiving threats. We have people shouting at us on the phone. They are not nice. “

Their claims go to extremes, including claims of harm. “That we are the reason why they get sicker and die. That we cause this, ”says Combs.

A year ago, we spoke to Combs earlier in the pandemic. People were still getting used to how things were different, even in intensive care units.

(Credit: CBS)

“I walk into a room with this crazy lineup and they look at me like I’m, I’m from another planet and I do not blame them,” Combs said in November 2020. Then some were resistant to masks. . “It does not matter. It does not care who you are, it does not care what you believe in, it just takes over the body,” Combs adds.

Are there any who regret not being vaccinated? Not many now. There were more in the spring. Demographics have also changed. The unvaccinated who enter hospitals are getting younger. There are fewer minorities than last year, the front-line workers, who more often live in town halls and were hit hard in the early days of the pandemic.

Nurses have long been concerned with the results of people’s poor choices; some cancers, some liver diseases. Disbelief she has seen with cancer is about getting sick, not about the existence of the disease.

“We do not ask. Hello, were you vaccinated? Why were you not vaccinated? I do not care. Whatever the reason you chose not to be vaccinated. I’m really sorry you chose it, but it does not affect how I will treat you as a patient and as a human being. ”

Misinformation ignites her, however. “People who just are not able to understand and just share information because they read it on the Internet to the highest level of officials who should know better. Shame on those officials who should know better.”

Vaccination works. The people in the intensive care unit, if vaccinated, are not the most seriously ill.

It all takes a toll.

“I shed tears at the hospital. I shed tears at a patient’s bed while they take their last breath … I shed tears for them as I put them in the bags and say I’m sorry. happened to you. “

Combs says she’s still worried about the future if we’ll get into the habit of relying on vaccines. She fears we could see a harsh winter ahead if people are not interested in the flu shot.

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