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Respiratory Therapists speak on their experience working with COVID-19 patients



MONROE, La. — For one COVID-19 patient, it’s a full team working. “With the physicians, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, the pharmacists, environmental management, TST’s, AST’s, and dietary,” said Michael Mills, Respiratory Therapist at St. Francis Medical Center.

And the respiratory therapists play a big role in each patient’s battle against COVID-19. “I assist the physician in putting endo tubes–breathing tubes into the lungs and I place the patients on life support systems. I control and maintain the life support systems while the patient is in the unit,” said Mills. Although therapists say not every day is the same.

“We come in and we see it drop off for a couple days and we take advantage of that. We kinda re- coop, we talk each other back up. What we could’ve done, what things could change to make the process easier… and then you have really really bad days where you go home and feel like you didn’t accomplish anything,” said Kristy Lockwood, Respiratory Therapist at St. Francis Medical Center.

Even though the respiratory therapists work hard in the fight, they say some days can be very tiring. “Take an hour in our shoes and walk up and down that unit right now. It’s never empty. There are feet running from room to room, and everybody’s just moving. You might have one that needs to sit down and take a moment because their patient just crashed,” said Lockwood. Sometimes the day’s are sad.

“You don’t know if you’re the last person to hear him talk, open his eyes, talk to his family,” said Lockwood.

While there’s a lot of unknown with what each day holds, the respiratory therapists say they’re thankful they’re able to do everything they can to help their patients fight COVID-19.

The respiratory therapists at St. Francis say they’re grateful for everyone who’s been supportive of the hospital works from donating masks, giving out food, and staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19