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'Continuous Mass Casualty': Local Frontline Workers Share Video Diary

(CW44 News At 10) - As the second wave of Covid-19 cases continue to surge across Florida, frontline workers right here in Tampa Bay are sharing their stories. We're taking you inside the Covid-19 units at Tampa General Hospital.

"Just seems the last few weeks we've been dealing with continuous mass casualty situations. [The] situation just feels worse than it was at any other point. We have patients that we're taking care of literally in the waiting room, admitting them to the hospital without being able to get them out of the lobby. EMS stretchers are lined up waiting to get in. It's really just… it's like nothing I've ever seen," said Dr. David Wein, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Tampa General Hospital during a video diary released Thursday by TGH.

"This is my first year working in a hospital full time. It's a very unusual year as you can imagine. Most recently, with this new Covid surge, it feels like I'm back to last August when I first started here except it's, somehow, more intense. There's more people.," said Chaplain Resident Holly Bailey while filming her own video diary. The diaries narrate the raw, unfiltered reality of what's currently happening behind the curtains from local doctors and nurses.

"I had a patient who was at 'end of life' and I escorted his family members for their one time half hour 'end of life' visit. I was there for them in that Covid room as they said goodbye and… when they came out after like an hour, all I could think was… this was your last time seeing him. And there's a lot of complex emotions knowing how he got sick from his unvaccinated family members and.. just the complexity of that and just how hard it was for his wife to leave the room knowing that, that was the last time she was going to see him," said Bailey.

Tampa general helped team members express that same reality last year during the height of the pandemic. But with cases surging at an all-time high, more frontline workers shared their stories this year.

"I think we're all exhausted, the staff is exhausted. I just stood and  listened to what a Covid ICU nurse… just go off and cuss and let her say what she needed to say in private and just to me, if that helps her get through her day because I think that's kind of the theme of how this whole hospital feels right now. So, that's where we're at," said Bailey.

"You know, it's adding to the frustration just that fact that so much of this feels like it could be avoidable if people were vaccinated. You know, I hope that starts to change soon as people see what we're going through," said Dr. Wein.

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