They saw the photos: Crowded hospitals, nurses that were tired, bodies piling up in morgues. It was far away, in northern Italy, New York, and other places.
After three months of waiting and preparing, Arizona physicians and nurses are on the front lines as the coronavirus rips throughout the state, making it one of the planet’s hot spots. The trickle of a couple of virus sufferers in March became a steady stream fourteen days after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey finished a stay-home sequence in mid-May and enabled most companies to reopen, and is now a scourge with no end in sight.
An intensive care nurse at metro Phoenix stated she cries the times she clutched a patient’s hands or when she thinks about all the men and women who have died from the virus in her hospital. Medical staff describes emergency rooms where patients are placed on ventilators waiting to start up. There are goodbyes via a patio window in Tucson.
Angela Muzzy, with 31 years of experience, said she tells nurses they will remember their role helping individuals throughout a crisis that was historic.
“We are caring for physicians who have contracted this, we are caring for mothers. Last week we withdrew life support on a 48-year-old mom and I stood out there with her 17-year-old son as she passed away,” said Muzzy, a clinical nurse specialist at southern Arizona’s Tucson Medical Center, where all 20 of 36 ICU beds dedicated to virus patients are full.
Hospitals across Arizona, a state of more than 7 million people, spent a virtually two-month ban and a lockdown on elective surgeries becoming ready for the surge that’s appearing now. They polished emergency programs that require them to ensure they can increase capacity. They trained professionals who work in operating rooms or areas and stocked up on gowns and masks. Dr. Lisa Goldberg, director of Tucson Medical Center’s emergency department, said her staff did drills, trained, and prepared.
Meanwhile, a Republican, Ducey, argued the closures he ordered had slowed the spread of this illness, and hospitals were much better prepared. Batting away calls by some cities to allow them to require masks, he resisted wearing a mask himself in public as cases mounted, while he stressed the need for social distancing.
Ducey allowed cities and counties to require masks in public and reversed himself on June 18 but didn’t issue an order After the situation spike became impossible to ignore. Most have, including Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, and the counties that surround them.
Today, hospitals statewide are filling up some critically ill, with patients. The state had more than 70,000 confirmed cases as of Saturday, up from just over 20,000 on June 1. Thousands more are being reported every day, and 1,535 people have died.
Over 2,400 people are hospitalized with coronavirus this week, up from about 1,000 three weeks ago. Over 600 ICU beds sedated and were filled on ventilators two-thirds of these, with virus patients this week.
Arizona has over 200 ICU beds that are empty, in the state out of about 1,600. More are being added as hospitals brace as infected individuals for a flood of individuals get sicker. Nurses are being hired from other nations to back staff up.
“This isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon. In fact, it’s an ultra-marathon,” Goldberg said.
With virus patients, it is often grueling, and more common and drawn out, although death is ever-present in ICUs.
Patients on ventilators are put as machines breathe because of their lungs, in what’s basically a medically-induced condition of suspended animation. They are hooked up and drains, using a ventilator tube down their throats. They can remain in the ICU for weeks or months.
Nurses walk in their components for shifts, gear up in gowns, respirators, gloves, and goggles and enter an other-worldly setting. Patients are cut off from their families, and often all reality. They are frequently reversed for hours at a time, a movement called proning for helping those patients breathe that has become a go-to but is.
Some of the deaths that are most difficult are those including a woman less than 25 years old who died in Scottsdale.