'I had two patients die': Infected nurse's emotional message

A young Melbourne nurse who contracted COVID-19 has pleaded with residents to take it seriously.

The nurse, named only as Daniel, made a video that is gaining national attention where he outlines what it's like to be on the front line.

His experience of running a shift at a Melbourne nursing home and have multiple patients die while he was in charge was shared by the Royal Melbourne Hospital's Facebook page.

"My name's Dan and I'm a registered nurse … I've just been diagnosed with COVID-19 and I'm in hotel isolation," he begins the Facebook video.

 

Dan has been working as a nurse full-time for two years.
Dan has been working as a nurse full-time for two years.

"This year I've really been in the thick of the COVID response and I've seen how devastating the virus can be."

In the video, Daniel says he has been working as a nurse full-time for two years, and he feels mentally scarred by what he's seen.

"Outbreaks started happening in aged care so when the call went out I responded to help out," he says.

"My first shift I was there, I did a nurse-in-charge shift. On that shift I had two patients die.

"My third day was even worse. It was probably one of the most difficult, mentally and physically, shifts that I've ever had."

 

Nurses practice treating ICU cases of coronavirus in Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. Picture: Toby Zerna
Nurses practice treating ICU cases of coronavirus in Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. Picture: Toby Zerna

For his third shift, the young nurse said he spent the whole time jumping between multiple patients who desperately needed oxygen.

One patient kept telling him "it's really hard, it's really hard to breathe".

"I was trying to reassure him as best I could but there really wasn't much we could do," he says in the video.

"Then his family called and they had to say their goodbyes over the phone. It was one of the most heartbreaking things. And then I held his hand until he passed away."

Daniel appears emotional in the video after describing patients dying while he was on shift.
Daniel appears emotional in the video after describing patients dying while he was on shift.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital described Daniel as "young" and "fit" but he's still worried about what the coronavirus will do to him.

"Every day I went to work there was this air of nervousness and worry among my colleagues as we all wondered if we were going to get the virus and expose our friends, family to it," he said.

 

And now he has the virus.

"Fast forward 10 days, I've now contracted COVID-19," he said.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a bit of fear and trepidation. I'm lucky that I'm young and young people can bounce back."

Registered Nurse Brigid Algie recovered from the coronavirus, and is spreading the message that coronavirus is not just a disease impacting the elderly — anyone can get it. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Registered Nurse Brigid Algie recovered from the coronavirus, and is spreading the message that coronavirus is not just a disease impacting the elderly — anyone can get it. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Daniel described the huge toll the virus is taking on his body. He took a shower and was panting heavily, as if he had just done a jog.

"You don't want COVID-19," he said.

"I've had intermittent fever, cough, lost my smell, lost my taste.

And then there's also the worry of chronic health conditions. Clots can form, they can go to my heart or my lungs, and I could have a heart attack or a stroke.

"And so right now I'm day six (of having the virus), and that's when some of this stuff can start to happen."

Nurses register people lining up to get tested for coronavirus, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Nurses register people lining up to get tested for coronavirus, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

He also shared a blunt message for the conspiracy theorists residing in Melbourne.

"I just wanted to say COVID's not a conspiracy - it's a global health emergency. I've seen first-hand what it does. It might suck that we might have to stay inside or wear masks," he said.

"The end goal is we do reduce the cases, and life can return to some semblance of normal"

The video has been shared almost 5000 times on Facebook at time of writing.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital said of the video: "He (Daniel) is sharing his story as he wants this to be over. He wants to let families in to see their loved ones.

"He has had to hold the hands of patients dying of COVID-19, because he didn't want them to die alone. He doesn't want to do that anymore.

"You are the best line of defence. We can do this, but we need your help."

Originally published as Infected nurse's message to Melbourne



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