Nurse Says COVID Patients Claim "It's Not Real" Before Dying
As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to soar across the country, no region better exemplifies the trouble at hand than the Dakotas. North Dakota has the world's highest mortality rate and its governor has only recently implemented new prevention measures, after receiving flak for telling COVID-positive health workers to keep working while ill. Meanwhile, South Dakota's governor, Kristi Noem, has taken the national stage to rail against restrictions of any kind, saying the responsibility for public health was on her constituents, not their government. Her state is struggling with the nation's highest positivity rate, with 1,000 cases a day.
One South Dakota ER nurse has seen enough. She tweeted about the rising deaths around her, and the attitudes about them, in a post that's been liked more than 200,000 times. Read on to hear her message, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Her Patients Say COVID is "Not Real" Before Dying From It
Jodi Doering is an emergency room nurse in South Dakota and lives in a small town. Here's what she Tweeted:
"I have a night off from the hospital. As I'm on my couch with my dog I can't help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don't believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is (g)oing to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don't have COViD because it's not real.
Yes. This really happens. And I can't stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn't going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It's like a (expletive) horror movie that never ends. There's no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again. Which is what I will do for the next three nights.
But tonight. It's me and Cliff and Oreo ice cream. And how ironic I have on my 'home' Hoodie. The South Dakota I love seems far away right now."
"I Just Can't Believe Those Are Their Last Thoughts and Words"
"I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else and they want a magic answer and they don't want to believe that COVID is real," Doering told CNN's New Day. "And the reason I tweeted what I did is it wasn't one particular patient. It's just a culmination of so many people and their last dying words are, um, this can't be happening. It's not real. And when they should be spending time FaceTiming their families, they're filled with anger and hatred. And it just made me really sad the other night. And, um, I just can't believe that those are going to be their last thoughts and words."
When asked what people wanted it to be, if not COVID, she said: "People want it to be influenza. They want it to be pneumonia. They want it to be, I mean, we've even had people say, well, I think maybe it might be lung cancer. I mean, something so far fetched. And the reality is since day one, when COVID started in this area in March, you've kind of been able to say, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck."
Governor Noem has no plans to implement health measures, even as neighboring state North Dakota finally did so. "As I've said before, if folks want to wear a mask, they should be free to do so," Noem wrote in an op-ed last month. "Similarly, those who don't want to wear a mask shouldn't be shamed into wearing one. And government should not mandate it. We need to respect each other's decisions — in South Dakota, we know a little common courtesy can go a long way."
Doering said her message was not meant to be political. On the contrary: "I think it's frustrating as a healthcare provider, because the last thing that we ask anyone when they seek care is how they voted or if they're a Democrat or Republican. The last thing we ever think about is that. What we think about is, how can I help you?" she said. "And so anybody that uses any chance to make this political, makes any healthcare provider want to scream because at the end of the day, we just want to help. And if we don't get some help from the public, as far as mask wearing and social distancing, you know, there's a thing on the Internet right now that says, 'I'm not your first line of defense. I'm your last.' And that actually is true in South Dakota. That by the time you get to me and the team that we work with, it might be too late for some."
How to Stay Alive During This Pandemic
So do it for Doering, and no matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place until there's a vaccine available: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.