The Star (Jamaica)


Nurse on the front line paints grim picture of COVID wards


My name is Kevin Morrison, a dedicated nurse at St Ann’s Bay Hospital. I was part of the team that cared for the first patient who recovered from the coronaviru­s in Jamaica. Initially, I was afraid when I found out that I had been chosen to work with COVID19 patients. I asked myself, ‘A so me salt?’

But upon meeting my first patient, I realised that this patient was just as afraid as I was, and it was my responsibi­lity to help him overcome his fears, even as I attempted to conquer mine. We talked, made jokes, laughed and developed a good relationsh­ip, and I took this approach with all my patients since. Now I see them as my mothers, fathers, brother, sisters etc, rather than a COVID19 patient.

I have been committed to the fight against the virus on the front line and on social media, spreading valuable educationa­l content about surviving the current pandemic. It has not been an easy journey thus far. The worst feeling is seeing one of your patients being critically ill and not being able to give this patient a second chance at life. They always say we are not supposed to take the work home in our minds, but it’s hard. I dream about it, I think about it all the time. Our patients become our friends, so imagine losing friends upon friends to the virus.

Typically, we are required to wear our uniforms to work, after which we change into our scrubs to enter on the COVID units. Deep sanitisati­on is done on entering and leaving the unit. When going to see a patient, we are fully dressed in protective gear, so much so it’s difficult to identify your colleague by sight. These gears include masks, gowns, head covering, face shield, gloves, shoes covers, and last but not least, faith in God.

This third wave is definitely worse than whatever we have seen before. The patients are more ill, with poorer prognosis; in other words, the very sick are more likely to die. Now we have both young and old people falling very ill and even meeting their demise — even without underlying illnesses. There is a greater need for oxygen and intensive care, and it makes you wonder if this is the same COVID that we battled before. As a nation, we somewhat have our backs against the wall, as the majority of our hospitals are at maximum capacity. So in reality, there might come a time when you will need care for the virus and it simply won’t be available, at this current rate.


The very ill patients need round- the- clock monitoring as their condition can improve or deteriorat­e in seconds. The aim for any one of these patients is to get them back to full health, but, as we all know, this won’t be the reality for a lot of people.

Mentally, this takes a toll on healthcare workers as we have been battling this virus for almost two years. With each wave of the pandemic, we are expected to perform at our utmost best with no clear end in sight. Colleagues are becoming ill, patients require more care, the numbers are increasing, yet persons are still not taking the necessary precaution­s.

For me, the way forward is a combinatio­n of physical distancing, handwashin­g, mask-wearing and vaccinatio­n. Yes, I believe the vaccine can help turn the tide against the virus, like other vaccines have done in the past. Truth is, if it were not for vaccines, a lot of persons would not be alive. While it might still be possible for the virus to infect your body, it significan­tly decreases the likelihood of you suffering the adverse effects of the virus if fully vaccinated.

I am still, and will forever be, dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 and serving my country on the front line. If it ever happens that I lose my own life in this fight against the virus, it was a pleasure serving my country.

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 ?? File ?? Health workers have been on the front line in the battle against COVID19 since last March.
File Health workers have been on the front line in the battle against COVID19 since last March.
 ?? Contribute­d ?? Kevin Morrison
Contribute­d Kevin Morrison

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