Steve Breinholt, KSL TV

Intermountain COVID-19 PSA: 'There's a war going on'

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Oct. 22, 2020 at 8:05 a.m.

MURRAY – The men and women who work the intensive care unit at Intermountain Medical Center said it's like going to battle against COVID-19 every day. There's a war going on, whether we see it or not, and they need our help to get through it.

That's the message in their new COVID-19 awareness campaign aimed at turning back the coronavirus.

"We are strained," said Dr. Mark Ott, medical director of Intermountain Medical Center, speaking to the media in a teleconference before the release of the campaign. "These people are working extra shifts. They're staying extra hours on their shift."

What's it like to care for patients with COVID-19 when some of them are dying, and the ICU is running out of beds? The doctors and nurses with Intermountain Healthcare want the entire community to understand what they're going through behind the scenes because they need our help to stop COVID-19.

In the video, Dani Beebe, a registered nurse, is among the health care workers sharing what they go through in the ICU on an average day while they are caring for patients with COVID-19.

"Some days are really good, and some days you go to work and you just hope that someone doesn't pass away on your shift," she said in the public service announcement.

This COVID-19 awareness campaign begins Wednesday night on KSL-TV News at 10, and on the other major network affiliates in Salt Lake City.

It goes behind closed doors at ICUs at Intermountain Healthcare facilities to help the public better understand the human toll and impact that rising cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are having on exhausted caregivers and patients.

Doctors and nurses described the ICU as a war zone that is taking a terrible toll on patients, their families and health care workers.

"I never thought that I would take care of people that are my age that were literally fighting for their lives because of COVID," said Beebe.

The ICU nurse is in her 20s and doesn't think everybody understands just how deadly this virus is.

"We find ourselves fighting for these patients: cheering when they have successes, and crying sometimes when they don't make it," she said.

Doctors and nurses, she said, are stressed about very sick patients, their own safety and running out of beds.

"This really is a disease that's affecting all of us," said Dr. Lindsay Leither, Intermountain Medical Center respiratory ICU medical director. "It's rare that an ICU bed stays open for very long before there's another patient that needs to come to our ICU."

"There are real faces and real people that are dealing with this," said Ott.

Leither pleaded with the public to wash up, mask up and social distance.

"This is a real disease," he said. "You may not be in our ICUs. You may not know anybody who's been terribly sick with it. But there are thousands of people who are sick and over 500 who have died in this state."

Ott said, they have enough beds right now, but they're juggling patients based upon who critical care the most. So, he urged all of us to be a partner.

"Be the community we need you to be so that we can take care of everybody," he said.

The ICU is now more stressful than it used to be because the patients in the beds are sicker than ever before, said Ott. Making sure that all of the patients get what they need adds another layer of stress.

The PSA video will be part of a broader social media campaign and will also be posted on YouTube in English and Spanish.

Jed Boal


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