Metro Denver nurses deploy to COVID-19 hot spots


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Denver-area HealthONE providers are deploying to COVID-19 hot spots around the country.

Out of the 82 volunteers, 45 nurses and therapists deployed to other HCA hospitals in Texas and Florida.

Stacy Walker is one of them. The cardiovascular intensive care unit nurse at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood just got back from a three-week deployment to Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, Texas. She worked in the ICU caring for COVID patients.

“It was probably some of the hardest nursing I’ve ever done,” Walker said.

She says the COVID-19 situation there is very different from the one in Colorado. Most of the beds in the hospital were full with coronavirus patients.

“They were very overwhelmed. At one point I remember talking to one of the respiratory therapists, and there were no more ventilators in the hospital,” Walker said. 

Out of the 14 COVID-19 patients she cared for, 10 died and two had no neurological function. Walker tears up as she remembers a family who wanted to withdraw care for their loved one, but with visitor restrictions, they were not allowed in the room.

“I took in the iPad, and I took off supportive measures, and I held the hand of this man who died, and his family watched over FaceTime,” she said through tears.

It was a tough deployment, but Walker and others got support from staff at Swedish Medical Center.

Brooke Nelson, a nursing director, sent a care package to let them know they are appreciated.

“I just wanted to let them know that we were thinking of them,” Nelson said. “It’s not just a job; it’s definitely a calling.” 

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