VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a mental strain on just about everyone, especially those working on the front lines.
A nurse and emergency room physician at Wilbarger General Hospital are giving us an inside look at what it’s like to work at a hospital during the pandemic. From the things they’ve learned since the pandemic started, to the toll it’s taking on the people trying to save as many lives as they can.
“I have experienced a lot more death up there on the floor than what I’ve done in my career,” Tiffanie Crumbley, RN at Wilbarger General Hospital.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Texoma, a cloud of uncertainty infected our front-line workers.
“Every day is really different,” Crumbley said. “There’s always new challenges coming in the door, you never know from minute to minute what’s going to come through the door or what you’re going to be presented with.”
When COVID-19 came knocking, no one knew what was going to happen.
“It’s definitely been difficult and challenging,” Wilbarger General Hospital ER Physician Dr. Matt Terhark said. “This is a new disease and none of us knew initially what was going to happen with this.”
There’s usually an ebb and flow that comes with flu season, but with COVID-19 there’s been a tidal wave of patients.
“Typically, in the hospital in general we have lulls, we have times where there’s less disease going into flu season, things like that,” Dr. Terkhark said. “Instead, we’ve had consistently full beds here in the hospital for the past three or four months. We’ve asked so much of them; we have nurses that haven’t had a day off in the past few weeks.
The hardest part is the sense of helplessness, that no matter what they do the outcome remains the same.
“I do everything that I’m trained to do and everything I’ve learned about this virus and a lot of times you know what the outcome is going to be no matter what you do,” Crumbley said. “There’s absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome even with all of the training that we have.”
Crumbley said one thing she is doing to help relieve stress is picking up working out.
Next week we will show you how United Regional ER staff members are doing during the pandemic and the resources United Regional provides to help get them through this difficult time.