“We Don’t Have a Lot Left to Give:” DHMC Nurses Illustrate Stark Reality of Current COVID-19 Surge in New Video

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I wish every unvaccinated person could see the suffering that these patients are enduring, and just know that your healthcare workers are tired and sad that this many people have had to die alone.

Chelsae, ICU nurse supervisor

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached alarming new levels in New Hampshire. Case counts are soaring, hospital beds are filling, and healthcare workers – the same who were hailed as heroes just under two years ago – are nearing the brink of exhaustion. This is directly linked to misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, which are proven to be safe and highly effective, and the reality of the virus itself. And hospital staff are paying the price.

In a newly released video, nurses working on the frontlines at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), New Hampshire’s largest hospital and only Level 1 Trauma Center, shared a snapshot of the frustration, fatigue and heartbreak they are dealing with daily. Their candid, raw thoughts emphasize the most crucial fact about this pandemic: that vaccination is truly the only way to end it once and for all.

“Things are very busy right now in the COVID-19 (Intensive Care Unit), and we expect they’re going to continue to get busier, especially going into the winter and having holiday gatherings,” said Chelsea, a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). “The vast majority of our patients are unvaccinated. They are previously healthy, many of them are young, several of them have been pregnant, and for most of them, not getting vaccinated was a choice that they made. And then they get sick, and they end up in our ICU, struggling to breathe, and they ask us to do everything we can to save their lives. And we try, and we will continue to try, but that doesn’t come without a price…We don’t have a lot left to give.”

“The surge feels worse than ever before, and the patients are sicker,” said Arielle, another MICU nurse. “And although this feels like the new normal, I don’t feel like anything about this is normal. Our patients are dying alone from a preventable disease. Please, get vaccinated, and please, wear your masks.”

“It’s probably our worst surge that we’ve seen so far,” said Hilary Hawkins, nurse manager of the Emergency Department (ED). “…We’re also seeing a lot of people who are downright upset and tired, and taking it out on staff…I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I wish every unvaccinated person could see the suffering that these patients are enduring, and just know that your healthcare workers are tired and sad that this many people have had to die alone,” said Chelsae, a nurse supervisor in the ICU.

To hear from these nurses and others, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTWN3JHartk.

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock

DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK HEALTH (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across Northern New England. D-H provides access to more than 2,400 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named in 2019 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 13 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. The D-H system trains nearly 400 residents and fellows annually, and performs world-class research, in partnership with the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT.