“In normal times, patients die differently”

An intensive care nurse working in berlin hospitals has described the situation in the pandemic and criticized politics in forceful and direct terms.

"The intensive care units are full. There is no room for interpretation," said ricardo lange on thursday in berlin at a press conference with federal health minister jens spahn (CDU) and the president of the robert koch institute (RKI), lothar wieler. The intensive care nurse, who says he comes from brandenburg and works for a temporary employment agency, criticized the fact that the staff shortage in the sector had not been tackled years ago.

He described the high physical stress caused by the protective equipment, but also the psychological challenges: "in normal times, patients die differently," lange said. Relatives could accompany the sick for a long time. Now only a last visit at the imminent death is possible. The last image seen by the dying was of staff in full protective gear, there was no physical contact.

Nursing staff then packed the deceased in black plastic bags to protect them from infection. "We put them in there and pull the friction lock shut. Believe me when i tell you: it does something to you," said lange. You don’t just do it a few times, you do it countless times. Better working conditions were more important to him than bonuses. So far, there has been no coherent concept to prevent overload and support nurses.

He was aware of a certain blindness, said the intensive care nurse. "I naturally see only the serious courses, i see only people who die to a large extent from it."But it’s the same the other way around, he stressed: if you don’t work in an intensive care unit or are affected in a private environment, you only see the mild cases and people who don’t get sick. "That in turn does not mean that the severe courses do not exist."

Spahn explained how langes’ appearance came about: after a conversation between spahn and actor jan-josef liefers about the controversial #allesdichtmachen campaign, the nurse had pointed out that the situation in intensive care units should also play a role. "Then i said, this would be a good opportunity today to get."

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