ICU nurse shares behind-the-scenes details of COVID-19 fight

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Gessy Beauzil-Edouard has worked for the Memorial Healthcare System for more than two decades. The 51-year-old intensive care unit nurse said she had never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic.

The Miramar mother said she has been fighting to save the lives of COVID-19 patients with doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and other members of the Memorial Hospital West for about a year now. There has been a lot of heartbreak.

“We are caring for your loved ones but we need your help on the outside,” Beauzil-Edouard said.

In an effort to raise awareness, Beauzil-Edouard used her phone to give the public a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing emergency. She said she wants to motivate the public to use face masks, social distance, and get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are beyond tired,” Beauzil-Edouard said. “We are exhausted.”

ICU Nurse Gessy Beauzil-Edouard shows how a group of patients recently turned a COVID-19 patient.

Sometimes they also need physical strength. One of her videos shows how it takes a team of seven people to turn a COVID-19 patient who is unconscious. Changing the position helps to get more oxygen into the lungs, she said.

“We put them on their belly and that protocol calls for 16 hours. Then we turn them supine on their backs,” Beauzil-Edouard said.

ICU Nurse Gessy Beauzil-Edouard shows the line that defines a perimeter in the ICU at Memorial West. (Courtesy of Gessy Beauzil-Edouard)

Another video shows a neon red line on the floor of the ICU that demarks the area where there is a need to wear more protective equipment.

“We have set up a perimeter on the ground here, so once you are gowned you are not to step outside of this red line, anything you need will be handed to you,” Beauzil-Edouard said.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert with Florida International University, said Beauzil-Edouard’s message is important.

“People have to understand this is not over ... We are still in a marathon against this horrific virus,” Marty said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 34,476 people had died of COVID-19 in Florida as of Wednesday morning, including 33,822 Florida residents and 654 non-residents.

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