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My Ultimate Warning based on personal Experience with COVID+ patients and co-workers.

Posted

Specializes in RN. Has 5 years experience.

These are the Facts based on nearly 4 weeks of this Pandemic. I have been on the front lines. Read Carefully and heed my warning.

1) If you suffer from Asthma, Lung CA, COPD, and/or other chronic lung disorders, your chances of surviving COVID-19 are slim to none. This virus attacks the lungs hard, if your lungs are already weakened, your already on the losing end of the battle with the virus.

2) If your a chronic smoker, vape, or smoke marijuana, you too, are on the losing ending of this battle.

3) Patients with no past medical history can also get very sick or even die from this virus, I have seen it happen. Why this is is not completely understood at this time, but it could be linked to lifestyle choices if you look at #2 Fact.

4) If your Obese, you likely have a weakened immune system. You also likely suffer from HTN, DM II, CAD, and other chronic health disorders which weaken your immune system. You will likely develop a severe illness from this virus and potentially be put on a ventilator.

5) Many patients who survive and are discharged require oxygen at home. Yes, you will likely need oxygen support when you leave the hospital. For how long? It's not known, but I have seen patients who need an additional 1-2 weeks of O2 support after discharge.

6) Many patients are dying from the virus. Morgues are filled to capacity in the hospital. If your loved one is dead, they are likely in a refrigerated truck.

7) This virus will NOT vanish during the Summer months. If you look at countries with warmer climates like Brazil, Ecuador, Turkey, and Egypt, these countries have large outbreaks. Warm weather can possibly slow down the virus but it won't go away.

9. Many COVID+ patients I have dealt with are getting progressively worse. Very few improve. And many have been in the hospital for more than 2 weeks already.

10) Your healthcare Co-workers will get sick and die from this virus. Many at my facility have gotten sick from this virus and are now patients themselves.

My friends, the danger is very real. This virus shows no mercy. I personally do not think it's worth putting your life in danger for money. A job is replaceable, your life isn't. Think carefully of what you will do next. Will you quit? If you do, I don't blame you. There is little we know about this virus and not enough protection. You are the author of your destiny.

Stay Blessed,

Edited by theoneandonly

theoneandonly

Specializes in RN. Has 5 years experience.

The War in Iraq was very dangerous. Nearly 4,500 American soldiers lost their lives there. But you know how many U.S. soldiers served in Iraq altogether? More than 2 million. Do the math.

Edited by theoneandonly

theoneandonly

Specializes in RN. Has 5 years experience.

-LOL we didn't join the military. Nurses didn't sign up to die in a battlefield. We went to college, to get our degree and a job just like the rest of society. We didn't become nurses to go into a war zone. This isn't the military

ttps://ojin.nursingworld

Florence Nightingale once described a time in her nursing career and related it to military life.

As a former Sailor of 10 years (active duty), in many ways nursing is so much more challenging and sacrificial than serving in the military. Veteran RNs can eat the young. This is the first time healthcare workers are being considered heroes. When for most of us, it’s what any decent human being should do for others. We’re not expected to pick up a weapon, but when you’re starting an iv on a MH prisoner who’s hep c positive, needing tx and has a hx of pulling out ivs. Our ivs are like weapons to some patients, even if they use needles to get high, (hep c). The patient and I had a rapport f a previous procedure. He was respectful, even in shackles and with guards to assist me, a needle near a pt who’s mentation is questionable (they should always be) with a deadly virus, can be considered dangerous to many people.
My point is, if we can help, we should. I’m a smoker (30 years), have undiagnosed Copd (probably), just got over a nasty abscess on my bum and I’m a med/surg nurse. I’m ready to go. I’ll strictly employ recommended precautions and carry on while the virus is strong.
I’m going to start building my travel nurse resume. So I can help.

RN

m/s tele, 4 years

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 3 years experience.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your opinions are valid but as someone else said, there’s selection bias here. So far, I know 9 people who have tested positive (not exclusively young, healthy people. Several are obese, two are in their 70s, etc). Of that nine, one had to be ventilated in the ICU. Fortunately, she is almost ready for discharge now. 8 were home with mild symptoms (they were only tested because of expose and they are HCW.) Is this anecdotal? Of course it is, just like your statement that “very few improve.” My anecdote is pretty in-line with the data, which shows that 95% have mild or no symptoms. You are observing a pool of critically ill people. I am observing a pool of the general population. Fortunately, most of us will never be admitted to your unit!

9 hours ago, Naturally Brilliant said:

No disrespect, but I think there's some self-selection bias in play here. The sickest Coronavirus sufferers are the ones who are going to be the hospitalized patients.

Thank you.

umbdude, MSN, NP

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 4 years experience.

That's why we need more testing because otherwise it's simply very difficult to tell what's going on. We need data to tell how much risk we're taking.

OP's sample size is small and there's some exaggeration in tone. However, in confirmed cases, those with chronic conditions are presented with much higher fatality rates (CVD >10%, and HTN, lung diseases, and diabetes anywhere from 5% to 8%) compared to 1.4% in general population. Confirmed cases who are asymptomatic is about 25-50%, but nobody really knows and the number keeps changing.

Basically, thereare a lot of "unknowns." I think for healthcare workers, the odds of infection or death are much higher. As of 4/9, 100 doctors and 30 nursing staff died in Italy. These numbers are very significant.

I want to stress again...healthcare workers have zero financial protection once he or she dies. It's likely that, right now, the odds of dying as a healthcare worker is higher than that of a police officer or soldier. (In 2017, 12.9 per 100,000 law enforcement officers died on the job. The "most dangerous" job in the US has fatality rate of 0.1%.) But when police officers and soldiers die, their families are taken care of.

Will your families be taken care of? That's a calculation you have to make and take seriously.

Edited by umbdude

9 hours ago, Naturally Brilliant said:

No disrespect, but I think there's some self-selection bias in play here. The sickest Coronavirus sufferers are the ones who are going to be the hospitalized patients. For every patient in the hospital with Coronavirus, there's probably about ten times as many at home recuperating, in various stages of illness. The current mortality rate in the U.S. is about 3% to 4%:

That mortality rate is inaccurate because it is based on CONFIRMED cases. We cannot know the true mortality rate without knowing the true infection rate.

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But is that 3% infection ratio accurate, and if not, what is the real number? To understand this, we need to understand the difference between case fatality rate (CFR) and infection fatality rate (IFR). CFR is the ratio of the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed (preferably by nucleic acid testing) cases of disease. IFR is the ratio of deaths divided by the number of actual infections with SARS-CoV-2. Because nucleic acid testing is limited and currently available primarily to people with significant indications of and risk factors for covid-19 disease, and because a large number of infections with SARS-CoV-2 result in mild or even asymptomatic disease, the IFR is likely to be significantly lower than the CFR. The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at the University of Oxford currently estimates the CFR globally at 0.51%, with all the caveats pertaining thereto. CEBM estimates the IFR at 0.1% to 0.26%, with even more caveats pertaining thereto. https://www.virology.ws/2020/04/05/infection-fatality-rate-a-critical-missing-piece-for-managing-covid-19/

and https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

Naturally Brilliant, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

So the real mortality rate would be even lower because there's plenty of people who are asymptomatic or have such mild symptoms they're not going to bother getting tested (whether due to availability of the tests or personal choice).

Naturally Brilliant, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

11 hours ago, theoneandonly said:

-LOL we didn't join the military. Nurses didn't sign up to die in a battlefield. We went to college, to get our degree and a job just like the rest of society. We didn't become nurses to go into a war zone. This isn't the military

Okay then, quit. You're right, nursing isn't the military. Nobody is forcing you to care for patients afflicted by Coronavirus or any other pathological condition. Nobody is going to court-martial you for desertion or even strip you of your nursing license if you don't want to do it. There's no "dishonorable discharge" here.

For the record, doctors, nurses, techs, and other healthcare staff have cared for patients worldwide with a whole host of communicable diseases, ranging from the common cold and the flu up to Marburg and Ebola. They did it voluntarily and based on the belief that they wanted to get these sick sufferers back to health, despite the personal risk.

If your mom or dad had (heaven forbid) Coronavirus and were hospitalized for it, I presume you'd want doctors and nurses who cared for your parent's recovery there and gave them the care and medical attention as they needed, rather than treating them like some sort of feral diseased animal best avoided (or a reason to quit work altogether).

Sbhayes09, ADN, RN

Specializes in Ambulatory Care. Has 2 years experience.

I've been working in a screening clinic and testing patients daily. On the ambulatory side of this coin, none of my co-workers or myself have contracted the virus. We also see the not so sick versions of patients. That being said we have sent a few to the ED and one by ambulance in the last month or so.

I'm sure it's terrible in the hospitals but if anyone wanted some insight into outside of acute care, there it is. Bad days and good days, young and old, but the majority have gone home and been fine. Still sucks to see those few that came to you guys then didn't make it though.

CharleeFoxtrot, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

16 hours ago, Naturally Brilliant said:

No disrespect, but I think there's some self-selection bias in play here. The sickest Coronavirus sufferers are the ones who are going to be the hospitalized patients. For every patient in the hospital with Coronavirus, there's probably about ten times as many at home recuperating, in various stages of illness.

I have been retasked at my job. Now I make outreach calls to Covid+ patients. My job is to follow up with not only those patients that tested positive, where never admitted and are recuperating at home. I've also got patients after being discharged from the hospital.

I've got them as young as 20, and as old as 77. Some with comorbids, some none at all. Seen them be discharged post aggressive MICU intubation/vented for a few days then they get stepped down then home.

(chuckles) Have one patient with every comorbid you can think of- a virtual poster child of now not to live a full happy life who is home. They aren't back to smoking or drink just yet but I have faith.

I also know a few that never made it home.

I know the OP is looking at this through "inpatient eyes", which is different from those of us working "outpatient", but I assure you Covid-19 is not a universal death sentence, and yes occasionally it does seem to show mercy.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

3 hours ago, Naturally Brilliant said:

Okay then, quit. You're right, nursing isn't the military. Nobody is forcing you to care for patients afflicted by Coronavirus or any other pathological condition. Nobody is going to court-martial you for desertion or even strip you of your nursing license if you don't want to do it. There's no "dishonorable discharge" here.

For the record, doctors, nurses, techs, and other healthcare staff have cared for patients worldwide with a whole host of communicable diseases, ranging from the common cold and the flu up to Marburg and Ebola. They did it voluntarily and based on the belief that they wanted to get these sick sufferers back to health, despite the personal risk.

If your mom or dad had (heaven forbid) Coronavirus and were hospitalized for it, I presume you'd want doctors and nurses who cared for your parent's recovery there and gave them the care and medical attention as they needed, rather than treating them like some sort of feral diseased animal best avoided (or a reason to quit work altogether).

You can stop the guilt trip already! The OP is merely giving us a glimpse of the front lines in ICU. It is a warning to the rest of us. The OP is giving us important info from the ICU so we can make an informed choice about our own personal risk of working with Corona.

I thank the OP for sharing with us what is happening in the ICU.

Yes it is possible to get the virus and be asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms, but it already has been documented that people with underlying health problems and the elderly have a higher risk of death! Although at the same time some younger people are dying as well.

There is nothing wrong for the OP to share their first hand experiences. I welcome it and ask for more on the front lines to speak up. Also it is public knowledge that HCW's are not being provided adequate PPE, are being put in unsafe situations, simple mask, not TB mask, not PAPR and many esp NYC are being expected to use the same mask for a week or more. Totally unsafe!

I can't imagine police, firefighters or even the military being sent out without adequate protection, but it's perfectly OK to do this to HCW's. The hospitals and the CDC have colluded to lower the safety bar and put us at risk! There is nothing wrong with choosing to walk away when one is put in an unsafe, potentially deadly situation. It is not our fault adequate PPE isn't being provided, but we are expected to put our neck out due to the greed and mismanagement of the corporate hospital system and shoddy govt ie FEMA and CDC! This shouldn't be happening! And hundreds of HCW have already gotten sick and some have died. Sadly until HCW's are provided adequate PPE ie PAPRS, more will die! I think this is a crime on the parts of the hospitals and the govt! Their actions are criminal and I hope their are lawsuits after this is over. Unfortunately it will not make the victims whole!

Edited by brandy1017

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

19 hours ago, theoneandonly said:

1) If you suffer from Asthma, Lung CA, COPD, and/or other chronic lung disorders, your chances of surviving COVID-19 are slim to none. This virus attacks the lungs hard, if your lungs are already weakened, your already on the losing end of the battle with the virus.

This is a terribly discouraging thing to read as an asthmatic mom of young children. I need to remind myself that statistically it's untrue, and there's a 92-95% chance of surviving, possibly higher since we don't really know accurate numbers because of asymptomatic or even un-tested COVID+. I think it's helpful to share insights into experiences with this condition since it's so new, but sweeping statements indicating that an entire group of people will die because of their chronic condition is frightening. The facts are still ugly, but trying to remind myself to stick with the facts...

Naturally Brilliant, BSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

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The OP is merely giving us a glimpse of the front lines in ICU. It is a warning to the rest of us.

1) Most of us don't work in the ICU.

2) The OP was being overly dramatic about Coronavirus in general. It is not a fifty-fifty chance at a death sentence if you take care of someone with Coronavirus, ICU or no ICU.

Theoneandonly,

Thank you for sharing this information. I think you just tried to warn people with preexisting conditions.

I left my job without finishing up 2 week notice. I couldn't stand the cavalier attitude of my coworkers. Nurses from COVID unit are using the same nursing station, no social distancing, hardly anybody wearing masks, stuff from COVID unit laying around.

Hopefully, this virus is not going to be the end of the world and not everybody with health issues are going to be hit hard. For many people the risk is real.

I detest that people are being harsh, skeptical and quite frankly rude. One comment said she should "quit then". We took an oath and most nurses believe in that. We are here to take care people. We take it seriously. She was merely giving her perspective. It's not dramatic or unrealistic. There are far too many people not taking it seriously. Thousands have died in a very short time. What more proof do you need? Wake up. Now is not the time for anger or being unkind. This is a universal wake up call for everyone. You are not impervious. Be well. Stay well. And please be kind.