As the second COVID-19 wave grips the country, many medical professionals are grappling with the fact that hospital beds are once again full, medical supplies are running low, and the general demeanor of healthcare workers is that of despair. Similar to a year and a half ago, some medical facilities are experiencing shortages of ventilators and enough personal protective equipment needed to treat COVID patients. That, coupled with the fact that many current patients have not been vaccinated, brings frustration and fatigue to the medical staff taking care of those that have fallen ill.
Dr. Rachel Shulman, a perinatologist in Atlanta, encourages all her pregnant patients to get vaccinated. “The rates of vaccination for my patients differ depending on which office I am in, and there are clearly demographic variations,” she explains. “Some offices have over 75% of the patients vaccinated, while others are 0%. The national average is 23.9% for pregnant individuals as of Aug. 21, and I would guess my patient population falls around that number as well. When speaking of only patients admitted in the hospital or critically ill, the vast majority, (over 90%) are unvaccinated.”
When asked about treatment protocols for COVID patients, Shulman goes on to say that medical professionals have learned a lot about the virus over the past year and a half and have changed their approach to inpatient care. For example, “our approach to steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has changed. We also are more aggressive regarding anticoagulation (medicine to prevent blood clots),” she elaborates.
As healthcare centers are pushed to capacity by a rush of patients, many healthcare workers struggle with their own mental health and frustration. Hospital workers say they’re tired and dismayed by this summer’s revival of the virus they thought would fade with the arrival of vaccines. Vita Lemberg, a registered nurse in the labor and delivery wing of Emory Hospital, shares that it’s disheartening to see patients test positive for COVID-19 and admit that they have not been vaccinated.
“Any patient who comes to the hospital and tests positive is immediately isolated,” she shares. The newly delivered babies of positive patients are also put into isolation. “It is very difficult to watch patients suffer from COVID, put on oxygen and be separated from their newborns,” said Lemberg.
Dr. Svetlana Kats, a radiation oncologist, confirms the common theme of “being exasperated and feeling frustrated because the majority of severe COVID cases are among the unvaccinated population and could have been prevented with getting the vaccine and wearing a mask.”
As the virus continues to ravage the country, it’s clear the medical workers need to protect themselves and their own mental wellbeing to be able to take care of patients effectively.
- Business & Professionals
- Alla Umanskiy
- Dr. Rachel Shulman
- Dr. Svetlana Kats
- radiation oncologist
- Vita Lemberg
- registered nurse
- Labor and Delivery
- Emory Hospital
- pregnant patients
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- blood clots
- healthcare centers
- Mental Health
- medical professionals
- medical supplies
- Healthcare workers
- medical facilities
- Personal Protective Equipment