Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick hosted a “Candid COVID Conversation” with local leaders on Wednesday to illustrate the situation inside area hospitals.
Jennifer Swain, an ICU nurse at Elkhart General, said the number of nurses in the ICU is double what it was at this time last year – and it’s still not enough. She had six patients die on her last shift alone.
“I can handle the stress of sick patients, but it’s not having what you need," Swain said. "So like, when you need that next ventilator and it’s not there and you say, ‘Sorry, I don’t know what to do.’”
Walter Halloran, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Elkhart General, also spoke to the lack of available staff and equipment at the hospital.
“I’ve got a guy who just came in with a heart attack. We have to operate on him tomorrow, I mean, he’s in trouble," Halloran said. "We would’ve done it today, but we couldn’t because we didn’t have a ventilator, we didn’t have a bed, we didn’t have a nurse.”
Since small gatherings now appear to be the primary source of the virus’s spread, Halloran implored people to keep their distance.
“With all the hard work that everybody’s doing, it seems such a small thing to ask people to just put your mask on and step back a little bit,” Halloran said.
The full conversation can be viewed on the Elkhart County website.
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