Inside Spartanburg Medical Center’s COVID ICU, nurses past their breaking point but ready to keep fighting

Coronavirus

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – It’s an astounding number. Over the course of just four days at Spartanburg Medical Center alone, 18 people died from COVID. That’s 18 families that are grieving, but they don’t grieve alone. The nurses and staff there that treat them, are suffering right alongside them and they do it every single day.

A sprint to save a life for what has become a marathon for the nurses in the COVID ward at Spartanburg Medical Center.

“It’s so hard when there’s just so much death around you,” said Assistant Nurse of the Spartanburg Medical Center COVID ICU, Takeysha Foster.

“You kind of wake up with this looming feeling that, you’re going to come into a pretty rough time,” said Registered Nurse, Kristin Whitener who also works in the COVID ICU at Spartanburg Medical Center.

Dominique Belgrave helps lead the COVID ICU. She has some qualifications that you might think would better prepare her for all of this tragedy.

“I’ve done hospice in my career and I have not seen this much death in hospice,” said Nurse Manager of the COVID ICU at Spartanburg Medical Center, Dominique Belgrave.

But none of that compares to what she sees walking along the ICU’s hallway and stepping into patients’ rooms.

During our interview, we talked in the last open room in the ICU. Belgrave told us they expected it to be filled within the hour.

It’s all part of what they call, the cold reality of the COVID ward with not even a second to mourn.

“It’s like they pass on, you want to connect with that family but oh we need that bed because another patient is coming in too,” Foster told 7 News.

It’s not just the death they have to see every single day, it’s all hands on deck there. Nurses like Takeysha Foster work dozens of hours a week.

Even when she leaves the walls of the hospital, they don’t leave her.

“People don’t realize our staff is working 60 hours a week, no breaks. It’s because they care about the patients. If they leave and that patient passed away, I should have been at work,” Foster explained.

Up a couple floors is Pavilion Six or what nurse Amy Brown calls, ‘COVID Central.’ All of their rooms right now are full of COVID patients. Ones that she told us, sometimes have to stay there for a long time. You can imagine, how close she gets to them.

“It’s like having your own family member either pass away or have to go down to the unit and be put on a ventilator,” said Spartanburg Medical Center Registered Nurse, Amy Brown.

Other than being exhausted, she’s drained and frustrated.

“There was something out there that could have prevented this, and we’re going through it and it’s worse,” Brown said.

The nurses in this COVID battle told us, they always support each other.

“Continue to be strong, hold each other up and continue to fight this. I feel like God has a reason for what we’re going through and he picks his toughest soldiers for his hardest battles, and that’s us,” Belgrave told us.

It’s what keeps them going every single day, because there’s always another life to save.

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