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Jennifer Blevin is a Respiratory Therapist working in the COVID Unit at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center. She says the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic can be described in one word – tense.

Questions About COVID-19?

An INTEGRIS Respiratory Therapist Describes the Pandemic

Jennifer BlevinJennifer Blevin is a Respiratory Therapist working in the COVID Unit at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center. She says the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic can be described in one word – tense.

“People are scared. There’s a lot of tension in the hospital,” she admits. “It’s also eerily quiet with no visitors or family members allowed.”

Blevin says the intensive care unit where she works is admitting two to three new COVID-19 patients every day. She says the rate of decline in these patients is alarming. “People are getting sick in a matter of hours,” she explains. “One minute they’re on room air and the next we are placing them on a ventilator with 100-percent oxygen.”

But she says the worst part, is they are alone. “We are all very conscious of the fact that these people have no one but us. So we try to make sure we give them extra care and compassion.” She adds, “In some cases, we’re having to hold the hands of dying patients who cannot be comforted by their families. It’s a sad stressful situation.”

Blevin’s job is to, literally, help these patients breathe easier. “I think the work of a respiratory therapist is important every day. It just so happens that we are getting a little more acknowledgement at the moment.” She continues, “I feel honored to be trusted with the care of my fellow Oklahomans.” 

But she says there are many departments that deserve praise and recognition during this pandemic. “I want to be sure to give kudos to every department in the hospital. From those who make sure we are stocked up on supplies, to the housekeeping crew, to the radiologists and the speech therapists who help our patients once we get them off the ventilator. This truly is a team effort - and we have an amazing team.”

Blevin would like the public to know that their actions impact our success. They can either be part of the problem, or part of the solution. “This is not a hoax or a ploy by the government to keep you at home. People are really sick and dying,” she declares. “Help us avoid a surge here in Oklahoma. Please help us flatten the curve by staying at home!”

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