‘Tired, burnt out, exhausted’: Intermountain Healthcare physician describes life inside a COVID-19 ICU

Coronavirus Updates

MURRAY (ABC4 News) – Every day ABC4 News receives COVID-19 case counts and deaths but we rarely hear first-hand what it’s like on the front lines inside our state’s hospitals.

On Thursday, Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Eddie Stenehjem spoke to reporters about what doctors, nurses, and patients and experiencing in Intermountain’s Respiratory Intensive Care Units around the state. 

He said while it’s encouraging that cases have been decreasing, on a personal level this disease is devastating for many patients and their helpless family members.

“We’ve got a couple of very young patients in our ICUs that are struggling to survive,” Dr. Stenehjem said. “We had two deaths yesterday, a patient that had been here for over two months, unfortunately, passed away. Another gentleman had been here for four weeks and unfortunately passed away and our hearts just go out for their families that couldn’t be there. They couldn’t be there when they passed away. They were on Skype or on Facetime and it’s not the same.”

Dr. Eddie Stenehjem said the pandemic is also taking a toll on the medical professionals caring for those patients. 

“They’re tired. They’re burnt out. They’re exhausted,” he said. “It’s really hard to see some of these patients and we’re now seeing more young patients that are coming in. We’re seeing plenty of people that don’t have underlying co-morbid conditions that are on a ventilator. This is really tiring and wearing on all of the nurses, the caregivers, the respiratory techs, the physicians and I think one of the things I struggle with is…we’re just starting.”

Dr. Eddie Stenehjem said he worries about what will happen in the Winter when more people are forced indoors and the regular seasonal influenza arrives.

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