The Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading like wildfire all over the globe just in time for the holidays, and one nurse, Nicki Credland, chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses, is calling out patients that don’t believe the virus is real.
She says she and her colleagues have witnessed “disgraceful” behavior from unvaccinated patients demanding medical care even though they refuse to acknowledge the reality around them.
Speaking Her Mind
The new variant is taking the U.K. by storm. The latest studies show more than 7,500 people are being treated in hospitals for COVID across the country.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Credland said the new wave could be a “significant burden” on the country’s National Health Service.
“I’m watching and listening to what NHS staff are going through, the trauma that they’re going through is insufferable, they’re being shouted, sworn at and assaulted by the relatives of coronavirus patients who don’t believe it exists.”
Credland, who works as an emergency care nurse in Hull and teaches at Hull University, added that “about 75% to 85% of patients” who needed ICU treatment were not vaccinated.
She recounted an incident she heard from one of her colleagues in which a man tried to gain access to the ICU, so he could visit one of his relatives.
“The relative who wanted to visit had tested Covid-positive as well and was therefore not allowed to visit the hospital,” she said. “The abuse that he gave to the ICU staff because he wanted to come onto the unit and visit his relative was absolutely disgraceful.”
“I absolutely understand that it is extremely difficult for families when their loved ones are on intensive care,” she added. “It’s very stressful, it’s heartbreaking to watch, I don’t dispute that for a second. But equally we have to protect everybody and, if you test COVID positive, I’m afraid you can’t just say ‘I don’t believe it therefore it doesn’t exist’, it doesn’t work like that.”
She also told a story about a young man who wasn’t vaccinated.
“I spoke to an ICU charge nurse who said that a young patient in their 30s was about to be intubated,” she said. “So put onto an artificial ventilator because of really low oxygen levels, difficulty breathing and was begging them, begging the staff to give them the vaccination because they weren’t vaccinated, because they didn’t believe COVID existed.”
“That patient died two days later.”
Credland shared her thoughts on what can be done to stymie the latest surge in cases. But don’t expert her views to win popular support.
“I’d like to see more restrictions, which is a very difficult thing to say at the moment because no one wants another Christmas like last year,” she said. “But NHS staff are working unpaid overtime to keep the NHS going and not just for coronavirus patients but to all of them.”
She also spoke about what happens next.
“It’s really difficult to say what will happen with Omicron at the moment, that’s not a cop-out answer, it’s a scientific one. We don’t know if it’ll be milder or not, but it’s unlikely that it’ll be significantly milder,” she admitted.
“What we are seeing is an exponential rise in cases around the country and the world, the fact that cases are going up will lead to more hospitalizations. If we see things continue as they are doing, then everyone in the country will catch coronavirus at some point.”
She ended her interview by pleading with the public to get vaccinated and boosted and to wear a mask.
“Even if the proportion of those with coronavirus who end up in hospital is small, the numbers will still put significant pressure on the NHS,” she said. “I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to have both vaccines and their booster. But we can’t just rely on vaccines, masks will also protect you to a certain degree, they’re a simple but effective public health measure.”