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Nebraska Medicine doctor: 'It takes a toll'

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 20:03:49-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Working nights, weekends, and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas is something that is nothing new for our healthcare workers.

This year due to COVID-19, even more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals will be stuck at work. And with so many patients in the hospitals in the metro, it’s beginning to take a toll on doctors.

Brian Boer, the Medical Director of the Nebraska Medicine ICU, says as their hospital fills up they’re working more and more, with many of the patients they take care of sicker than the average patient.

“We’re used to sick patients, we’re used to death and dying, that’s kind of the job description. It’s just again, when more of those patients on average are doing that to you, it takes a toll just emotionally,” says Dr. Boer.

He says the ICU is about 50 percent more full than normal, and typically it’s near capacity.

No families are currently allowed in the hospital, making things more difficult for doctors like Boer, who are trying to establish a rapport with families.

“It’s just hard. So that’s definitely been the most challenging, it's just establishing a connection and trust with the family to let them know you’re doing everything you can for a loved ones,” says Boer.

After treating COVID-19 patients for much of the year, it’s now the holiday season. Boer says staff will work more than normal this year, but will still try and find needed family time.

“It’s one of those where you gotta make time. We’re pretty good about carving out time for your family. And so if you can’t do it on the holiday, you find a way to do it the day before or the day after and you make it work,” says Boer.

Boer implores all Nebraskans to keep following restrictions and health guidelines, as the extra COVID-19 patients is having an effect on all patients inside the hospital, and it could get worse.

“Now that you’ve got somebody who was going to come in, they had a stroke, heart attack, you name it , and we can’t get through the emergency department because it’s been overrun and there’s tents outside, that’s what we don’t want to see happening,” says Boer.