Non-COVID patient speaks on ER experience

Brian stayed at the hospital for three nights. Both him and his wife say during his stay the burden of the influx of patients on staff and clinicians was clear
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 3:37 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Last week, Brian Hendrix Helsley of Hagerman needed to go to the emergency room for a non-COVID-related ailment.

A call to a hospital in Gooding revealed the wait time would be lengthy, so his wife Jeanine took him to St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls. What he saw upon arrival, shocked him.

“I was flabbergasted. I was like ‘wait a minute I don’t even have a parking spot’ all of the handicap spots were full. It looked like a tailgate party and it was that way from when I arrived on Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night, packed,” said Brian.

Brian is quadriplegic, meaning both his arms and legs are paralyzed. He says he waited as long as possible before seeing a doctor for fear of coronavirus and crisis standards of care conditions in Idaho’s hospitals.

For him, this was a nightmare realized.

“In 27 years of being in a wheelchair, I have never seen anything in my life like this. It was a madhouse. No parking, ambulances 1, 2, 3, helicopter taking off. and then the ER is packed and the doctors are going ‘we don’t know what to do.’ Three out of the four floors? COVID,” said Brian.

Brian’s wife Jeanine says she saw incredibly sick people in the ER, including several individuals who were on oxygen. She says the images of what she saw that night still haunt her.

“I’m deaf so it’s more of a visual and that visual alone is still burned into my head about the amount of people that were in that emergency room,” she says

It took over 10 hours for Brian to be transferred from the ER to a room on the non-COVID wing of the hospital, but the sense of crisis still permeated the building.

“While we were there, Sunday alone, there was four code blues, three deaths within a couple of hours of COVID. they announce it over wing calling all doctors and nurses to help,” said Jeanine.

Brian stayed at the hospital for three nights. Both he and Jeanine say during his stay the burden of the influx of patients on staff and clinicians was clear.

“Never have I seen the amount of stress nurses, doctors are all in,” said Jeanine. “I just wish people would understand. It’s almost like a warzone.”

“What is happening to the doctors and nurses, other patients, it’s quite frankly not fair. This could’ve been prevented. If you don’t believe it, go sit in the parking lot. you’ll see it for yourself,” said Brian.

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