Nurse reveals the 'one thing' people still don't understand in the pandemic

·4-min read

A 26-year-old critical care nurse has made an impassioned plea on TikTok as hospitals and staff inch closer to their breaking point under the strain of Covid.

Alexis Hinkley is an American travel nurse who has been providing care to Covid patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

For the past month she has been working in an Oregon emergency department that, like most facilities across the world, is in dire need of staff following the dramatic spread of the Omicron variant.

Under her TikTok user name, @travelingnurse, Ms Hinkley recently posted a video urging others to truly understand the pressure frontline workers were under and what it meant for anyone who fell ill.

“One thing that I wish more non-medical people understood, when they bring up the survival rate of Covid, is that no beds in the hospital means no beds,” the obviously frustrated nurse said.

Alexis Hinkley in her nurse's scrubs. She has been working in hospitals since the start of the Covid pandemic.
Alexis Hinkley is a critical care nurse who has been providing care to Covid patients since the beginning of the pandemic. Source: TikTok/@travelingnurse

“No beds for your stroke, no beds for your heart attack, no beds for your car crash, no beds for your sick child,” she continued.

The 26-year-old told viewers although they may be comfortable with the survival rate of Covid, they probably wouldn’t feel the same about the low survival rates of a massive stroke with no medical intervention.

“…Because we can’t accept you at any of your local hospitals, because our ED is overflowing with patients already? Are you comfortable with those odds? I bet the f*** not,” she said.

The nurse went on to say that there were roughly 1600 available ICU beds left across the country when she made the TikTok.

“I give us a week and a half, that might be too generous,” Ms Hinkley said.

Over the past seven days, the US has reported 10,795 Covid deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The country has reported 4.2 million new cases in the same time frame.

Ms Hinkley said she suffered some of the darkest moments in her life last January.

“Shovelling dead bodies out to refrigerated trucks in parking lots,” she said.

“And on the worst days that we had, we were still only averaging 3000 deaths a day from Covid and we are looking at 10,000 deaths a day in early February.

“No beds means no f***ing beds. You die alone at home. Your parents die alone at home. Please, please start listening to the healthcare workers when they scream for you to help us,” she concludes.

Medical experts have consistently advised the public that in order to help stop the spread of Covid, people should get vaccinated, wear a mask and keep socially distanced.

US Covid nurse Alexis Hinkley seen wearing two face masks at a hospital.
Ms Hinkley recently posted a video urging others to truly understand the pressure frontline workers are under due to Covid. Source: TikTok/@travelingnurse

No bed for mum with brain cancer

Ms Hinkley’s video has been viewed more than 2.3 million times and has attracted more than 32,000 comments.

Many people said they had loved ones who had been unable to access medical treatment because of the pressure hospitals were under.

“My friend’s dad died because they put off his heart surgery due to no beds,” one woman said.

“There were no beds for my mum who had brain cancer and had a seizure and needed immediate medical care. She passed away recently,” another woman wrote.

“No beds for grandma who has an aneurysm that she could live through but won’t because no room at the hospital,” a third person said.

Another viewer told Ms Hinkley her emotional TikTok had helped explain the dire situation.

“I’m vaccinated but I lean towards being more ‘let people choose’ about it. I just wanted to tell you this changed my mind,” she wrote.

TikTok posted after ‘really bad’ shift

Ms Hinkley told Buzzfeed she posted the clip after a “really bad” 13-hour shift.

“I’d had multiple patients code, I’d been working a crisis assignment, and I’d been in the emergency department for the past month,” she said.

The nurse said there were 30 people on gurneys in the hallway at the hospital and were short on “everything”.

“We were trying to run the hallway of an emergency department to get to a patient whose crashing, and we were bumping into gurneys with patients and family members sitting on them,” she said.

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