Registered Nurse and Devine High School graduate Shauna Davis finished her 21-day stint caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients in a New York City hospital last Friday, May 8.
Davis volunteered to serve in New York City and documented her 12-hour shifts in a series of videos posted to her personal Facebook page. Her final update detailed the status of a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator she had been nursing several days who seemed to be improving before taking a turn for the worse.
“We did not do great like I thought we would,” Davis said. “We ended up proning today, so we put him in the prone position and tried it up and see how he’s going to do like that.”
Proning involves turning a patient from their back, or supine position, onto their stomach, a move that can increase the blood oxygen levels of ventilated patients.
“He was sitting at like 80 percent all day, all day, all day,” Davis said. “The next thing I know, we’re proning him, and he was up to 92 [percent] before I left.”
The patient also received his fourth treatment of remdesivir, a broad spectrum antiviral that was initially developed to treat Ebola and has been authorized for emergency use for COVID-19 patients in the United States despite conflicting results from clinical trials regarding whether the drug helps speed recovery time.
Davis described remdesivir as “potent,” and said that after its intravenous administration, it must be disposed of in a biohazard bag, and the IV line flushed with 30 milliliters of saline.
“Today we didn’t get to try to lower his settings on the vent because he just was not doing so great,” Davis said. “You always leave wondering if there’s something you could have done better, or had you done this, had you done that, would it have made a difference.”
Davis said she prayed for the patient and asked her viewers to do the same.
“He’s young, he has a family to get back to,” Davis said, “and he deserves that.”
Davis doesn’t specialize in intensive care, but was thrown into that arena at this hospital, which was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients when she and her fellow volunteers arrived.
“Today was a really good day as far as my journey, where I came,” Davis said, noting that she cried on camera during her early days at Coney. “I still cry, don’t get me wrong, I’m still emotional, but I would even be upset and sensitive about like, ‘I’m not gonna make it, I’m not an ICU nurse, I’m not gonna make it,’ and here I am 23 days in and I love it.”
Her hospital colleagues were thankful for her work and sorry to see her go.
“Everybody was so appreciative today and sad I was leaving and I got some really good compliments, so I know that I was making a difference,” Davis said. “And from someone that’s not an ICU nurse and turned into one within a three-week period of time, it’s just amazing that other people could see that you’re really trying to make a difference.”
By Marly Davis