COVID case numbers are soaring in almost every state in the country. Jodi Doering, an ER nurse in South Dakota, is witnessing the spike in cases firsthand in the hospital where she works.
But she's also experiencing another exhausting, tragic phenomenon. In a now-viral thread, Jodi explains the singular, baffling experience of treating patients who are dying of COVID-19 who don't believe COVID exists at all. It's heart-wrenching and beyond frustrating for healthcare workers.
Jodi often has to treat patients who believe the virus is a hoax or at least can't be as serious as it really is. These are people who are struggling to breath and on ventilators because they are infected with COVID.
Because she's the one treating them, because she's the only one they come into contact with daily since they're isolated from their friends and family because they are dying of COVID, Jodi is the person who gets screamed at and reamed out. These people really don't think they could possibly have COVID.
In an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota, Jodi said, "Their last, dying words are, 'This can't be happening. It's not real.' And when they should be spending time FaceTiming their families, they're filled with anger and hatred... I just can't believe that those are going to be their last thoughts and words."
She continues, "It just makes you sad and mad and frustrated, and then you know that you're just going to come back and do it all over again." Jodi says it wasn't one patient who inspired her to write this thread. She's had several of these instances, and it doesn't get easier.
When Camerota asked Jodi what people think is wrong with them if they don't believe they have COVID, Jodi said, "You know, I think people look for anything. People want it to be influenza, they want it to be pneumonia, they want it to be... I mean, we've even had people say, 'Well, I think maybe it might be lung cancer. I mean, something so far-fetched.
"And the reality is since day one when COVID started in this area in March, you've kind of been able to say if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck. I hate to tell you that you have COVID, but that's what you have. You know, even after positive results come back, some people just don't believe it."
Jodi spoke to the toll this is taking on her and other nurses and doctors. It's exhausting and neverending and so, so frustrating. "It's a movie where the credits never roll," she said. "You just do it all over again. And it's hard and sad because every hospital, every nurse, every doctor in this state is seeing the same things."
She continues, "These people get sick in the same way, you treat them in the same way, they die in the same way, and then you do it over again... The reality is right now that it's not getting better."
If hospitals are not overwhelmed yet, that's where the numbers are heading, and it's like watching a car crash you can't prevent. Actress June Diane Raphael recently shared a text she received from a friend who's a doctor about the situation in her hospital right now. It reads, "We are completely surging. I am carrying more and sicker patients than ever in my career. They are almost all COVID."