Kylie Fisher, Victoria Western Health on ICU

A critical care nurse has revealed the huge physical and emotion toll the pandemic has taken as she braces for another surge.

A critical care nurse said her team, which last year helped to prevent hundreds of admissions to the intensive care unit, are bracing for an overwhelming surge of admissions unless vaccination rates pick up.

Kylie Fisher, who works in the critical care liaison team in Western Health, on Monday painted a harrowing picture of the ward nurses who came to her “overwhelmed, in tears, bloody and worried” last year.

“I saw tears, I saw exhaustion, I saw nurses consoling nurses,” she said.

“I saw blood across the ridges of their noses and ears from wearing PPE for 12 hours at a time.

“Long shifts on their feet, kilometres and kilometres they clock up … They would come to me and say ‘it’s like nothing we have ever seen before’.

“I’m worried I’m going to have to ask them to stand up and do it again. And they will. But they shouldn’t have to.”

Ms Fisher said getting vaccinated will not only ease the workload on ICU staff, but would keep individuals, families and whole communities safe.

Of the 805 active cases in Victoria at the moment, 15 people are in intensive care, 11 of whom are on ventilators.

Ms Fisher said the high transmissibility of Delta meant she had serious fears the state’s ICU’s would become more overwhelmed.

“Last year we managed a large portion of our acutely unwell patients within the ward setting. But I’m worried that being more contagious, our ICU beds will quickly be utilised and we’ll struggle to meet the demand of … the community,” she said.

Victoria recorded 73 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.

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Author: Shirley