Covid-19 Australia: Sydney ICU nurse says virus is ‘tearing families apart’

ICU nurse details exactly what she sees in Covid wards as she says virus is ‘tearing families apart’

  • ICU nurse Michelle Dowd has detailed scenes in Liverpool Hospital’s Covid ward
  • Covid-19 patients coming to her ward are among the sickest they’ve seen
  • Parents who have to be on a ventilator in the ICU are left separated from their children
  • ICU nurses left to provide emotional support to dying Covid patients
  • Ms Dowd urged community to get vaccinated to help frontline workers


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An intensive care nurse working in one of NSW’s worst COVID-19 hotspots says the virus is “tearing families apart” and taking a huge physical and emotional toll on health workers.

More than 870 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in NSW, 143 of whom are in intensive care. Liverpool Hospital nurse manager Michelle Dowd is one of the frontline workers trying to keep them alive.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, when an additional 1,164 cases were reported, Ms Dowd said COVID-19 patients coming to her ICU are “some of the sickest we’ve ever seen.”

Among them are entire family groups dealing with tragic circumstances, she said.

Liverpool Hospital nurse manager Michelle Dowd spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the scenes she saw in her Covid ward and how the virus has taken its toll on frontline workers

Liverpool Hospital nurse manager Michelle Dowd spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the scenes she saw in her Covid ward and how the virus has taken its toll on frontline workers

“We have had parents – both parents – of young children who are so ill that they have to be put on a ventilator in our intensive care unit and separated from their children.

“Sometimes they don’t have an extended family to care for these children, or the extended family is also so sick that we have to arrange alternative care.

“This virus is literally tearing families apart.”

Ms Dowd’s hospital is located in one of the areas hardest hit by the current outbreak.

The virus has been diagnosed in more than 1,700 people in the local government area of ​​Liverpool, southwest Sydney.

Liverpool hospital is in one of the areas hardest hit by the virus, with more than 1,700 people diagnosed with Covid in the local government area

Liverpool hospital is in one of the areas hardest hit by the virus, with more than 1,700 people diagnosed with Covid in the local government area

Liverpool hospital is in one of the areas hardest hit by the virus, with more than 1,700 people diagnosed with Covid in the local government area

But in addition to managing a higher caseload and some of the sickest patients they’ve ever seen, ICU nurses have been left to provide emotional support to dying patients in the absence of visitors.

“In the worst case scenario, at the end of life, we call the family and hold the patient’s hands and provide as much care, comfort and support as possible,” she said.

“We know this is very difficult for families. This is also very difficult for us.’

The emotional toll is enormous, but taking care of COVID patients is also very physically demanding work, she said.

Ms Dowd said health workers are doing their best to help those affected by the virus and urged the community to get vaccinated to help frontline workers

Ms Dowd said health workers are doing their best to help those affected by the virus and urged the community to get vaccinated to help frontline workers

Ms Dowd said health workers are doing their best to help those affected by the virus and urged the community to get vaccinated to help frontline workers

“They need so much support and supervision and physical care. We sit in layers of PPE, sometimes for hours at a time.’

Health professionals are doing their best to help those who contract the virus, but the community must help them by getting vaccinated, Ms Dowd said.

“As your frontline health workers, help us keep patients out of the hospital,” she pleaded.

“By getting vaccinated, you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re also protecting your family, your friends, strangers…you’re helping us save lives.”

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