Health care workers say COVID-19 deaths are preventable

RN Jennifer Risner is concerned about the number of COVID-19 cases.
RN Jennifer Risner is concerned about the number of COVID-19 cases.(WAFF)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:45 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF/Gray News) – Health care workers say more and more patients with COVID-19 wish they had gotten vaccinated.

WAFF reports that a nurse who works at a hospital in Athens said several people were admitted this week suffering from the virus.

“We’re seeing a lot of sick people come in and that’s very, very scary for our future,” RN Jennifer Risner said.

Risner treated the first patient with COVID-19 at Athens Limestone Hospital in 2020. She said it’s been grueling and is concerned we are heading down a dangerous path again.

“I’ve seen more deaths this year than I’ve ever seen in my nursing career. And it doesn’t get easy – it gets a little harder every time,” Risner said.

Doctors and nurses at the hospital say many patients are asking for the vaccine when it’s too late. A vaccine can’t undo the virus once you have it and you can only get the shot when you’re healthy again.

While Risner understands it’s a personal choice, she would hate to see a loved one check into the hospital for simply not wanting to get vaccinated.

“I feel like if you put yourself in my shoes, and see what I’ve seen behind the scenes, that I do think that you’d change your mind about being vaccinated,” Risner said.

The hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Matthew Hanserd, said he’s had to answer incredibly tough questions throughout his career.

When a husband recently asked Hanserd what he could have done to prevent his wife from dying, he simply told the man she could have been vaccinated.

“It’s rare in my line of work that I can give things that are rock solid,” Hanserd explained. “But in her case, she’d still be with us.”

Hanserd urges anyone who has questions about the vaccine to talk to their health care provider.

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