Cox Medical Center Branson nurse shares the reality of working in the COVID-19 ICU

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - As COVID-19 units remain full in Branson, an ICU nurse is sharing the realities of working in a COVID-19 unit.

Nurse Kayla Hilles says working in the COVID-19 unit is like a battleground.

“Instead of it being a battleground where you’re working against another person, you are working against COVID, we’re all fighting against COVID together to save everybody,” Kayla Hilles said.

Hilles said on top of normal shift duties, they’re doing it while wearing non-breathable suits.

”That means we wear a bunny suit, we wear shoe covers, a gown, gloves underneath the blue gown, gloves over the blue gown a hairnet, our N-95, our face shield and then another hair net over that.”

The hospital is also seeing younger patients fighting for their lives right now with COVID-19.

”We’ve had lots of very sick young patients that normally with the first couple rounds of COVID we didn’t see or wouldn’t have necessarily been ICU level,” Hilles said.

She says work is also spread thin because they don’t have room for all of the patients.

”Not only are our resources pulled for COVID, our resources are spread for our actual ICU patients that aren’t COVID,” hilles said.

As the demand for rooms increase, emergency rooms wait times spike too.

”I know yesterday there were 45 people in the waiting area at one time, so I can only imagine the very high number of hours that they’re waiting,” Hilles said.

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