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Nurse describes challenges of fighting COVID-19 inside hospital

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Posted at 7:30 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 01:54:32-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A registered nurse at IU Health says is describing the emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic is having inside the hospital.

Kari Malloy, a registered nurse at IU Health Methodist Hospital, says at the beginning of the pandemic, they were scared just like the rest of the nation.

"We see what's happening in China, New York, and Washington," Malloy said. "And you know, it doesn't change how you treat the patient. Of course, we are all scared, but I mean, I could catch any type of disease at any time with our population, so it's just, you maintain your infection control and go on."

Malloy says healthcare workers are coming together because the burnout from some patients always declining can be tough to deal with. While there are success stories and COVID-19 doesn't affect some patients as much, some end up having issues because the virus affected different parts of their bodies.

"There are times where you're just like I just want this to be over," Malloy said. "But I think we just kind of come together and help each other out. You know the best person to vent with is someone else who is going through it right with you."

She says some patients can decline so quickly. Within just a few minutes, some patients will be on room air to needing oxygen from a respirator.

"And next thing you know, it's like we're upgrading to ICU and further things are going to have to be needed," she said.

Malloy says the younger patients are harder to deal with emotionally.

"My most memorable one, was she was in her early 20s," she said. "And just holding her hand and know that she was scared. I'm doing everything that I can. And the team, we're working as a team to keep her you know, stable. Just watching her deteriorate and no matter what we're doing it's not making her any better. I mean she ended up coming out of it ok, I mean we did the right things and the right steps. But it was just emotional. I'm a mother and I'm looking at like my child, it was difficult, so."

And because of the visitor restrictions at hospitals, some patients are alone.

"They're scared, they're isolated in their rooms, we don't have visitors, and just knowing that I am their person," Malloy said. "You know, so I am their lifeline. And I mean it feels great, I mean to know that I am being apart of something that is great."

She hopes people will take this pandemic seriously and do their part to help slow the spread.

"If wearing a mask is all it's going to take, social distancing, then why not do it? Just, let's do it," Malloy said. "You know, it doesn't mean that you can't be around social activities. It's just be smart."