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Traveling Michigan nurse navigates COVID pandemic

‘What’s so hard is all the death we’re seeing’
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:13 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The state of Michigan reported Wednesday 28,458 new cases of COVID-19 and 350 deaths linked to the virus over the past two days.

It’s an average of 14,229 daily cases.

State totals now sit at 1,709,593 cases and 28,228 deaths since the pandemic began almost two years ago.

As COVID cases continue to rise, the amount of workers in hospitals seemingly is going down.

With a lack of new nurses entering the workforce and veteran nurses leaving, it’s become more difficult to keep hospitals staffed. That’s where traveling nurses fill the gap.

With the pandemic showing no end in sight, one traveling nurse said the job is taxing.

Lydia Mobley is a FAStaff Travel ICU Nurse. She’s been on the frontlines battling COVID across the state, from hospitals in the UP to Metro Detroit -- and everywhere in between.

As someone who works with patients in the intensive care unit, she sees far too many people losing their battles with coronavirus.

“All the time we get patients who -- right up until they’re admitted to the hospital -- thought that COVID wasn’t real or they didn’t think it would affect them,” Mobley said. “Now, they’re in the ICU and very near to death.”

Mobley recalled a recent patient who she worked tirelessly to save.

“I was on contract in northern Michigan and he was struggling to breathe,” Mobley said. “He needed a BiPap and the hospital was out. There wasn’t enough to go around.”

A BiPap is a machine patients are put on just before progressing to a ventilator.

“In between his gasp for breath, he’s asking if it’s too late for the vaccine,” Mobley recalled. “Unfortunately, yes, it’s much too late. He died a week later.”

Mobley said that is just one of many stories she has of people in this situation. Unfortunately, she said nurses all over Michigan are being emotionally scarred from having to see it play out over and over again.

“You cannot see the amount of death that we have and just be OK holding it all inside,” Mobley said.

Mobley spoke to those -- like her -- on the front lines.

“To any nurses listening, reach out, seek some help,” Mobley said. “Seek someone to talk to, even if it’s not a professional. Just don’t hold this all inside.”

Mobley said if people do seek care at a hospital or urgent care, to be patient with the staff and if you’re unsure about the COVID vaccine, you’re encouraged to discuss it with your health care provider.

More: Michigan health officials answer your COVID questions

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