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‘A better night’ inside BRG’s COVID Unit; success of saving life carries night shift into morning light

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 3:00 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A good night is far and few between in the COVID ICU at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

One of those rarities came exactly when it was needed on Wednesday, August 18.

“We were actually able to stabilize a young patient that we were stressing about and hopefully she’s going to make it out of here,” said Fabian Cezar, a nurse at BRG.

Overnight, only one patient was admitted to the ICU. Cezar said no one died “which is rare because usually, we lose at least one patient a night.”

The night shift is hard in the COVID unit. The medical staff grows close with its patients as visitors are usually not allowed after a certain point.

“I see a patient come in. We’re talking just candid conversation inside this very room and they’re on their cellphones with their families and then, next thing you know, two days later, they’re on a ventilator. And then from there, are they going to make it or not?” explained Cezar.

He added the last 18 months are the hardest in his career. He said it is frustrating because most of the patients should not be there. Not a single patient on his floor is vaccinated.

“One of our physicians says that political science has overruled medical science. That’s a big statement,” noted Cezar.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 90% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. It is a number that has stayed relatively the same since the onset of the latest surge.

“My talk about the shot now is not only, ‘Get your shot if you haven’t been vaccinated but take someone with you so they can get their shot with you,’” said Cezar.

It is too late for the patients Cezar is taking care of, though. After his sixth 12-hour day in a row, he is exhausted, both mentally and physically. He said he is tired of seeing the nearly lifeless bodies in his rooms and is heartbroken from the death he is constantly exposed to.

“If you’re not emotionally drained in this profession, you need to find another profession because you need to be giving your whole heart and soul to it because the patient requires and needs it to get out of here,” he said.

While he is exhausted, he is walking out after his shift feeling a little better, knowing he is not leaving after having lost another patient - a win in his book.

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