AUSTIN, Texas - As hospitals across Texas experience a surge in COVID-19 cases, some doctors and nurses are trying to paint a better picture for those on the outside.
"It's just like a constant state of stress," said Justin Neisser, a nurse at Spicewood Surgery Center in Austin. "Ever since I moved to Austin, everything has been extremely busy, the hospitals, and even our surgery center."
A doctor in Houston FOX7 spoke to had a similar description. "It's definitely been worse over the past couple of weeks," said Dr. Diana L. Fite, president of the Texas Medical Association. "We're having doctors and nurses working extra shifts, working many days in a row, getting burnout, or just upset and tired."
Dr. Fite said some of the problem is due to the potential longevity of COVID-19. "These patients are staying in for days or weeks, and it's not opening up more beds then for the continual influx of patients," she said. "So we're getting behind."
Another nurse from Texas, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke with FOX7 on Wednesday. "When this started, even as a nurse I was pretty laissez-faire about it," she said. "It wasn’t until I started working the COVID unit more that I really saw what could happen."
Other healthcare workers have been passionate on social media and online about their frustrations. One Austin nurse posted on Facebook earlier this month saying in part, "We are running out of physical beds. But besides that, we still don’t have enough nurses, and that’s with a lot of us working overtime shifts."
In the post she went on to say, "Because there are no ICU beds left, my fellow IMC nurses and I now have to take care of intubated and ventilated patients, which WE ARE NOT TRAINED TO DO."
According to Austin Public Health, Austin hospitals could run out of ICU beds as soon as this week or next. The City of Austin did open up the convention center on Tuesday to take in lower priority patients and make room for more COVID-19 patients in the local hospitals.