'I feel like I can't get there fast enough': ICU nurse speaks about surge of COVID-19 patients

'Some of the things we have to see ... it can take a toll on a person. It's hard not to carry it home."


A lot of nurses, doctors and other medical professionals have been taking to social media to show the public what it's like inside the hospital right now.

After her third 12-hour shift in the ICU, Nebraska Medicine nurse Lacie Gooch recorded a video of herself, the N95 mask lines still fresh on her face, explaining the intensity of the situation.

"I have seen so many emergent intubations. I've seen more people sick than I've ever seen in my life," she said. "We're understaffed, we have so much on our plates as nurses. There's not enough of us to help."

Gooch told sister station KETV she captured the moment post-shift to "try and get the message out."

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"Things are bad at the hospital. Patients are sick, we're running out of beds," she said.

Her "home unit" is typically in the cardiovascular ICU, but she's been helping out staff in the COVID-19 ICU, as well.

"Some of the things that we have to see, it can take a toll on a person," Gooch said. "It's hard not to carry it home."

Gooch said phone calls to patients' families are among of the hardest parts of the job, along with trying to protect herself while rushing to help someone in need of care.

"I've had times when I'm trying as fast as I can to put some of my protection garments on, and I just feel like I can't get in there fast enough because they're tanking, and that's just a horrible feeling," she said.

The nurse is begging for the public's help, urging them to follow safety measures like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large crowds and going out to high-risk locations.

She said this affects everyone, not just those dealing directly with the virus.

"If you and a loved one were to need emergent care that wasn't COVID, we're at a point where we could get to where we couldn't give that care to you. That's scary to me," she said.