BATON ROUGE, LA (BR-PROUD) — On Tuesday night more than 400 patients were fighting COVID-19 at hospitals in Baton Rouge and about 90% of those patients are unvaccinated. Our Carly Laing gives us an inside look at Baton Rouge General’s ICU. She also talked with a patient who says she is not giving up hope.
Baton Rouge General‘s ICUs are overflowing, forcing them to open new COVID-19 units to treat critical patients.
Keli Dufour has been in the ICU for two weeks.
“I contemplated getting vaccinated. I guess before I finally decided, I got exposed,” said Dufour.
She’s active, healthy, and only 54 years old.
“I’m pushing myself because this is not my normal. I’m ready to get back to cutting grass, running with the grands. That’s my motivation right now,” said Dufour.
She’s also one of many relying on oxygen to breathe.
“Like they say, smell the flowers and blow out the candles. It’s hard when you physically think about it because it’s something you take for granted, never will again,” said Dufour.
Dr. Ryan Richard supervises COVID-19 units. He said they are simply overwhelmed.
“We have a lot of patients and not enough people to provide the normal ratios of care. For example, one nurse per two patients. Sometimes now they’re up to five patients per nurse,” said Richard.
It’s a workload he hopes will come to an end soon.
“We urge people to please hear us. It’s real, nobody is completely safe from this. Take good care of yourself and please get vaccinated,” said Richard.
As for Dufour, she is reconsidering her options.
“I think this has changed my view, as far as, maybe I should have gotten it sooner. You know? I guess I was scared of if I took it and it gave it to me what would it do and in the long run, I’m here anyway,” said Dufour.
In the meantime she’s fighting, one breath at a time.
“That’s the only motivation I can give anybody is to not give up,” said Dufour.
BRG just held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new burn unit a few weeks ago but with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, it had to be converted to an ICU unit.