Nurse describes horrific conditions in 'pit' where coronavirus patients are left to die

A nurse has described "horrific" conditions at a hospital saying patients with the worst coronavirus cases are left to die in a room dubbed "the pit". 

Lawanna Rivers made the shocking claim about University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, as hospitals in the state struggle to cope with a surge in cases.

Texas is the worst affected state in the US and last week became the first to register more than one million cases since the start of the pandemic, the New York Post reports.

Speaking in a 50-minute video on Facebook the visibly emotional nurse said: "I saw a lot of people died that I feel like shouldn't have died.

"That assignment there broke me.

"I was put in what's called a 'pit', and in this pit was eight patients, all Covid positive.

"On my first day of orientation I was told, 'Whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a bodybag'."

El Paso is one of the worst hit regions and city officials have been forced to set up four mobile morgues to cope with the increasing death toll.

But they fear they will need 10 to meet demands.

A two-week lockdown in El Paso that had been due to end on Wednesday has been extended to try and drive down infection rates.

Ms Rivers also accused the hospital of not treating coronavirus patients aggressively enough and said some doctors avoided treating them at all.

She said: "I'm used to, when we run codes (emergency procedures), we do everything we can, we exhaust all measures to save our patients.

"Anybody that knows anything about CPR, one round is two minutes, which normally includes chest compressions and bagging them (using a handheld resuscitator).

"The patients that we coded, we were not allowed to bag them because we would get too much exposure.

"And because they were Covid positive, this hospital's policy was they only get three rounds of CPR, which is only six minutes.

"Out of all the codes that we had there, there's not a single patient that made it.

"If those doctors there would aggressively treat those patients from the beginning a lot more would make it."

She also claimed the sole coronavirus survivor on that floor was a doctor's wife who she said was given preferential treatment.

“The nurse that orientated me had one patient, she was called the ‘VIP’ patient, she was a doctor’s wife,” she said..

“They pulled out all the stops for that woman — there was nothing that they didn’t do for that woman. And guess what? She was the one patient that made it out of that ICU alive.”

University Medical Center told local station KVIA-TV in a statement that although it sympathises with the medical professional, it “cannot fully verify the events expressed" by Ms Rivers. 

The statement read: “We empathise and sympathise with the difficult, physical and emotional toll that this pandemic takes on thousands of healthcare workers here and throughout our country.

“This particular travel nurse was at UMC briefly to help El Paso confront the surge of Covid-19 patients.”

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