HALL COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — For the first time this year, CBS46 took an inside look at a COVID-19 unit in North Georgia.
The Northeast Georgia Medical Center is at capacity, the staff is tired, and people are dying.
CBS46 was in the ICU while two COVID-19 patients died within the first 15 minutes of our crews being there.
Hospitals don’t usually open their doors like this for our cameras, but that’s how bad things are right now.
CBS46 met Amber Rampy, a nurse who has spent the last 20 months in the COVID-19 unit at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Rampy told CBS46 she just can’t take it anymore.
“I just left on Friday because I can’t do it anymore. I just can’t,” Rampy said.
Like many medical professionals, she thought the worst of the pandemic was behind her.
“Although I’m used to people dying, I’m just not used to this many,” Rampy said.
73 have died at the hospital where she works just this month. That doesn’t include the two who died while CBS46 was there Monday.
248 patients were battling for their lives Monday night in the the ICU we visited and more than 6,000 people were facing the same uphill battle across the state.
“Our highest peak was back in January, if the current modeling holds were looking at 450 to 500 hospitalizations on average per week,” Dr. Deepak Aggarwal said.
The ICU was packed to the point that the hospital is now converting hallways into busy treatment areas.
“We haven’t had to turn anyone away and we’re very fortunate,” Dr. Aggarwal said.
However, staff is having to get creative, to keep up with the pace.
“We’ve identified staff to make sure they are seeing patients on the back of ambulance trucks, so they don’t have to wait. Our goal is to make sure patients are seen timely and this is the best way we can do that, because we have physically ran out of space in our emergency department,” another nurse said.
They invited CBS46 in to spotlight the fourth the wave, that’s killing younger and healthier patients.
“Now they’re like 45 and their kids are like 12 and you have to tell them daddy’s dying,” Rampy said.
Rampy said she stopped asking if patients were vaccinated.
“Individuals make poor decisions, you have to take care of them, but it’s overwhelming,” Rampy said.
Rampy does hope that sharing her experience will be the push some people need.