Vanderbilt nurse on frontlines treats every case as if patient has COVID-19

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some of the real heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic are the first responders, police, fire and medical personnel who are on the frontlines.

Nowhere is that battle more pronounced than in hospital emergency rooms or the back of an ambulance.

Vanderbilt Critical Care Nurse Sally Dye is one of those medical soldiers fighting the invisible enemy.

“I guess if you are calling me a soldier, then I’m one with a team, and lot of support of individuals and people behind the scenes,” said Dye.

Dye said without the support of the community and the supply chain personnel she wouldn’t be able to help the patients she does.

“I am seeing a lot of different patients. As we get the patients, we don’t know if they are positive for the virus. Usually, we are the ones doing the tests and then we find out later, if they have it or not, so we try and approach each patient as if they do have it,” said Dye.

The 33-year-old works in the Vanderbilt emergency room.

“A lot has changed. A lot of our practices, but we have always, been familiar with PPE’s, but never has it been as important as it is now,” said Dye.

This health care veteran of 12 years is part of the team of nurses that comes to the helipad and greets LifeFlight choppers with the sickest patients.

Dye said COVID doesn’t scare her, but reminds her to be cautious.

“There’s a little bit of apprehension because, in this field, we are used to not knowing what the patient may or may not have, cause we are the front line caregiver, and prevention of infectious disease has always been a part of my job so this just adds another layer with this new disease.”

Dye frequently works in the back of a critical care ambulance. She is familiar with respirators and other critical care components that have become prominently featured in press briefings every day from the White House to the State House.

Dye said the patients they pick up are critically sick, often being moved from ICU’s in smaller hospitals.

She said there’s a strong chance that patients she’s helping could be COVID-19 positive.

“I have been close to people and taking care of people with the virus. The ones I do know about have done well.”

Dye said she appreciates the public response to her and her colleagues. She said she would do this job without the accolades but it’s nice to see the community solidarity.

Dye also said she feels fortunate that her staff has not experienced the PPE shortages seen in NYC and other big cities.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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