Honoring our hospital heroes at CarolinaEast Medical Center: So much progress has been made against COVID-19


Editor’s note: All this week, WNCT will be paying respects and saying “thank you” to many of the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic.


NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — “The disease is still with us, it is still deadly.”

One year later and one thing on the forefront of people’s minds is still COVID-19.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my 40 years of experience,” said Roy Everett, the ICU Medical Director at CarolinaEast Medical Center.

Each time doctors and nurses enter a COVID patient’s room, they suit up like it’s Day 1.

“I was pretty freaked out at first, you know that first time going in a room with all the stuff on, it’s like you’re an astronaut doing a spacewalk,” said Tyler Merrels, an ICU nurse.

A lot has changed since that first day.

“I think our docs, as they’ve been treating it for longer, they know more of what works and what doesn’t work, but it’s still a very real threat,” said Vicki Robie, an ICU nurse.

They’ve seen patients young and old, healthy and sick fight the virus.

“The weird thing about COVID is you never know what version you’ll get,” Merrels said.

During the interviews with the nurses, one of the COVID-19 patients was in Code Blue, crashing and they had to spring into action immediately.

“In the ICU, with the different diseases, things can change in an instant, I never make guarantees in the ICU and specifically not with COVID patients,” Everett said.

There is hope in the patients that go home and in the tiny vials of vaccine.

“This is the risk of the vaccine, this is the risk of COVID,” Everett said. “There’s nobody dying of the vaccine, there are people dying of COVID. Take the vaccine and be smart.”

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