Berlin intensive care nurses on the Corona front: “Instead, Laschet debates with Sophia Thomalla” – society

Ricardo Lange, 39, works as a nurse in Berlin intensive care units with a focus on Covid. Here he reports every week about night shifts, makeshift arrangements and glimmers of hope.

What is life like in the intensive care unit after Corona?

At the moment we have an unusually high number of people with heart disease. One patient said that she had avoided going to the doctor in recent months because of the risk of infection. Several people have probably done it that way, and some have fallen on their feet. That is an impression that you could get, of course not statistically valid.

Do you think that some patients have missed the first symptoms?

Ignored, downplayed. The harbingers of a heart attack are chest pain that you get when you put pressure on yourself. They are a sign that a vessel is narrowed. This can be treated by, for example, placing a stent. But once you have a heart attack, it’s too late. Then heart tissue died.

Angela Merkel thanked the hospital staff again on Monday because the pandemic had exceeded their limits. Are you happy?

In return, I would have liked politicians, especially those of the CDU, to go beyond their limits and finally change things. But they don’t give you more than a thank you. Health Minister Spahn had promised me a personal interview after my appearance at the federal press conference. That gave me the idea to debate health policy with top politicians from all parties here in the Tagesspiegel, so that the programs can be compared a bit.

Olaf Scholz, Wolfgang Kubicki, Janine Wissler and Katrin Göring-Eckardt take part. Only Spahn subsequently named as a condition for a conversation that it should take place on the CDU’s Instagram channel. What kind of understanding of democracy is it that a federal health minister only deals with the concerns of nursing staff when it is broadcast on his party’s election campaign channel? Incidentally, Laschet, Söder and Merz have also canceled the Union. Instead, Laschet debates with Sophia Thomalla in “Die Zeit”. That shows how important the party takes care of the emergency.

[Weitere Folgen der Kolumne “Außer Atem” mit Ricardo Lange:]
“The doors to the rooms are open again”
“You can feel how the interest in the grievances in nursing is waning again”
“We had him lying on his stomach for 16 hours”
“People keep getting heart attacks – Corona or not”
“I often think of an early encounter with death”
“I mustn’t make mistakes, even when my body is in sleep mode”
“They gasp as if they came from jogging”
“I don’t understand what the app is supposed to do”

At the Charité, nurses are calling for a so-called relief collective agreement. According to this, there would be an estimated ten percent more staff on the wards. Would that be helpful?

Clear. The problem is that the minimum staffing levels that Spahn introduced were intended as a minimum. But the clinics take the number as the maximum. If one more caregiver came, she would be sent home.

The President of the German Intensive Care Society, Christian Karagiannidis, called for psychological care because the medical staff often exceeded their limit during the pandemic. Can you do anything with it?

Sometimes you would have liked to have had some kind of supervision, someone who would get you out of the hole. Many colleagues are mentally and morally exhausted because there is no foreseeable improvement in their working conditions. I’m also ready for a vacation. Today is my last shift. Then I have four weeks off.

Are you going away?

No, I spend the time with those who I have neglected most in the past year: my family, the dogs. I also go to visit my parents, whom I rarely saw during the pandemic because I didn’t want to infect them. I look forward to the little things, the normal everyday life that I didn’t really have for a year and a half.