Amid COVID disaster, Idaho health care workers grapple with burnout and misinformation: “I’m treating patients for their political views”


ICU director Dr. Meghan McInerny is often the final particular person you need to meet at Idaho’s Saint Alphonsus hospital’s rising COVID ward. 

“If you’re sick enough with COVID to meet me, your chances of dying are pretty high,”  McInerny advised CBS News’ Jonathan Vigliotti. 

She mentioned that the hospital has needed to convert day surgical procedure to a fourth intensive care unit area. About 50% of patients who’ve been intubated in latest months have died.

“It did not have to be this way,” McInerny mentioned. 

McInerney’s colleague Dr. Carolyn McFarlane mentioned misinformation and political division over vaccines have turn into an surprising and lethal aspect impact of Idaho’s COVID disaster.

“The divisiveness that we saw with politics. I’m seeing that same kind of trend in health care. And that alarms me, that I’m treating patients for their political views, whereas this virus does not care,” McFarlane mentioned.

In Idaho, it isn’t required to put on masks indoors and many do not. 

“I thought this would be bringing America together to fight a common evil,” McFarlane mentioned.

As extra sick residents flood hospitals some medical staffers are leaving. Saint Alphonsus has lost 50% of its total employees since COVID started – principally resulting from burnout.

Charge nurse Alicia Luciani has had sufficient. She advised CBS News she was leaving the ward. 

“What’s going on in your mind right now?” Vigliotti requested.

“There’s just so many of them. I put more people in body bags over the last two years than I have in the last nine. It’s hard. And there’s just a heaviness. So…in an effort to preserve my own mental-emotional health was… Helped with the decision to do something a little different,” Luciani mentioned.

The exhausting and polarized local weather has additionally led to troubling protest indicators together with one which referred to as ER medical doctors murderers.

“That takes a real hit to morale. And so I feel for all of us who are trying to fight the fight against COVID and provide care. And that’s what the greeting is,” McFarlane mentioned. 

McInerny mentioned she thinks twice about sporting her scrubs in public.  

“Is it because I feel unsafe? I don’t necessarily think so, but I’m certainly not going to put myself out there, I’m not going to put up the sign that I’m a health care worker,”  she mentioned. 

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