Banner ER nurse says lack of ICU space is affecting rest of hospital

Posted at 7:05 PM, Dec 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 00:12:07-05

An emergency room nurse who worked in the ICU over the summer said the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic remains the same.

In July, Erin Woodward, a nurse for Banner Health, posted a long series of videos on Instagram detailing what it was like to be a nurse in the COVID Unit.

"The lucky ones that don't pass away, are not going back to a normal life," Woodward said over the summer in the series which is still available to see on her Instagram page.

Woodward currently works in the Emergency Room for Banner Health. The trickle-down effect of little to no ICU rooms available for patients has forced the ER to become a makeshift ICU.

"It forces the ER to be a place that isn’t for that type of care. We’re holding a lot of ICU patients now," said Woodward.

Anxiety among patients who come to the ER with COVID-19 symptoms is sad, she adds, mostly among people who didn't think that the virus is that difficult to overcome.

"'I didn’t think it was this bad. I didn’t think that I would feel this way.' I hear that every single day," she said.

You see a husband and wife, the wife will drop the husband off and they’ll be waving at the husband and they’ll be crying as we take their loved one back because they don’t know if they’re going to see their loved one again."

In the fall, Woodward and her family contracted COVID-19. She said it was unlike any other virus she has experienced, and it took a while to recover from a wide range of symptoms.

"Fatigue like I’ve never experienced and just confusion, unable to put a sentence together," said Woodward, who also completely lost her sense of smell and taste.

Despite contracting the virus herself, emotional moments and difficult days, Woodward is still motivated to go to work to save lives.

"We’re the only people that can help. We’re trained to do it and if we don’t do it who’s going to do it?"