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Exposed to patient positive with coronavirus

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Specializes in CCU, CRRT. Has 6 years experience.

I was taking care of a patient who I admitted as a R/O caronavirus. The patient was admitted In respiratory distress and started on bipap. The patient became acutely confused and started tearing off his bipap. At the time, we were out of masks as they are being locked up in our directors office and the charge nurse was on her way to obtain another box or n95s. I watched as my patients sat dropped from 98 to 80.. to 73.. knowing the patient was RO I entered the room to place bipap back on the patient. (I instantly reported the exposure to my charge nurse who pretty much shrugged it off saying ‘hey probably doesn’t have it anyways’’. He then started to decompensate cardiovascular wise for me... blood pressure kept dropping and heart rate spiked into the 140s sinus. He ended up getting a liter or albumin plus another two liters of NS and started on Levo. I was able to stabilize him throughout the night until morning, gave report and went home.. .. when I came back that next night I found out he passed away on day shift. Fast forward a few day’s and I find out his test came back positive for coronavirus.

I talked to my clinical manager about what I’m supposed to do since I had an exposure with a known positive and their response was along the lines of.. no you can’t be tested and yes you still need to come to work until you show symptoms. This is madness... I feel like if I come to work I’ll be exposing the whole ICU to this virus but I fear the repercussions If I Call out.

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 4 years experience.

Talk to your infectious disease nurses at your hospital. They should be able to help you. Go above your boss if you need to. I wouldnt want to risk putting people at risk who are already icu level care.

If that doesn't work call the health department and see if they can intervene. If that doesn't work public shaming might, call the media. If course you'll lose your job but you might save some lives. ⚖️

Yeah, the protocol at my hospital is to keep working unless you show symptoms. Madness? Yup. I got nothing else for you. My thoughts are with you. It’s an incredibly stressful time. Next time, no PPE, no entry. Period.

WOW!! Puts many of our everyday gripes into perspective. Certainly hope this turns out well for you in all regards.

Delia37, MSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

Had you consider calling your own physician?? at least he/she can give you an order to be tested.

I know someone whose job wants them to take a LOA due to their medical problems. When they asked their doctor to start the ball rolling, their doctor told them that no doctors are getting involved with authorizing medical leaves. She told them to file for unemployment. Now that’s what I call being helpful. Wonder if it is true that doctors are helping no one get excused from work.

IRN2011, ASN, BSN

Specializes in CCU, CRRT. Has 6 years experience.

4 hours ago, beekee said:

Yeah, the protocol at my hospital is to keep working unless you show symptoms. Madness? Yup. I got nothing else for you. My thoughts are with you. It’s an incredibly stressful time. Next time, no PPE, no entry. Period.

Two nurses at my hospital have been placed on suspension for saying they are refusing the assignment before shift change until masks are delivered to the unit to ensure they have a mask for their shift

FLOATnureCO

Has 3 years experience.

holy. ***.

Rionoir, ADN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

How are your basketball skills? There seems to be an abundance of test kits set aside for basketball players showing no symptoms. 🙄

16 hours ago, IRN2011 said:

Two nurses at my hospital have been placed on suspension for saying they are refusing the assignment before shift change until masks are delivered to the unit to ensure they have a mask for their shift

This is so outrageous. The media need to hear about this because no one should have to work without PPE when this virus is a killer.

On 3/21/2020 at 5:25 AM, caliotter3 said:

I know someone whose job wants them to take a LOA due to their medical problems. When they asked their doctor to start the ball rolling, their doctor told them that no doctors are getting involved with authorizing medical leaves. She told them to file for unemployment. Now that’s what I call being helpful. Wonder if it is true that doctors are helping no one get excused from work.

Is there more to this story? Presumably the person's doctor knows his/her history.

Coward that I am, I'd actually be happy to take a leave. The thought of working with this killer virus, especially with inadequate PPE, is really frightening. God bless all of you who are willing.

Somehow, HIV wasn't this scary to me.

RN-to- BSN, ADN, RN

Specializes in SCRN. Has 7 years experience.

Yes, sounds about right. This is what management told us as well. We had a man with respiratory symptoms, he later spiked a fever, and THEN it was decided to swab him, but not before the entire staff on day and night shift was exposed helping the primary nurse take care of him (he also has dementia, and is high fall risk). He tested positive. I have no symptoms, but my little daughter does. Is that fair? Nope. Carry on.

Edited by RN-to- BSN

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 3/22/2020 at 12:45 AM, Rionoir said:

How are your basketball skills? There seems to be an abundance of test kits set aside for basketball players showing no symptoms. 🙄

And politicians

IRN2011, ASN, BSN

Specializes in CCU, CRRT. Has 6 years experience.

So an update to this story. luckily I've been asymptomatic for 13 days now since the exposure - still going to work. I've talked with employee health which is having me log down my temperature twice a day. As long as I don't develop a fever over 100.4 they will not test me (luckily I'm at the end of the incubation period.. we didn't find out he was positive until a week after my exposure). I've contacted my primary MD... his response was "this is absurd, I'm sending all my patients with exposure/symptoms to the ED since I don't have testing capacity myself, and they are turning them away as well".

dogwalker

Specializes in Acute care, Corrections, Psych, LTC. Has 28 years experience.

If that happened to me, I would tell them you are going to home quarantine for 14 days due to exposure to a patient who died from complications due to Covid19. I would put it in writing and cc the hospital's risk management department and your state nursing licensing board. Then apply for unemployment. I am staying home from my job as a case manager. I have offered to work from home, but my employer never made provisions so that is their problem. Not mine. My problem is staying healthy and keeping my family healthy while this invisible enemy circulates. You are a hero in my book.

lifelearningrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

While I agree a 2 week self-quarantine sounds reasonable, I think that for hospital workers, that would be impossible. Lots of healthcare workers are exposed, if they all had to take 2 weeks there would be nobody left to care for patients.

What bothers me is the lack of PPE and the relaxation of standards. Insanity.