Respiratory therapist: Fighting COVID-19 is a 'mental, physical, emotional exhaustion'

Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 19:10:42-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There are younger people in the hospital with COVID-19, so young they should be transitioning into the prime of their lives -- not on ventilators and in the ICU.

"A lot of the patients that we've been seeing are my age, if not younger than me," said Morgan Mellott, a respiratory therapist at UK HealthCare.

State COVID-19 data reported Tuesday shows the highest number of cases is in the 20-29-year-old age group. Right behind that is the 30-30-year-old age group.

"The complications that our patients are having that are unvaccinated seem to be a lot worse than our patients who are vaccinated," Mellott said.

Mellott says the majority of patients are unvaccinated, but there are some who can get sick even though they have had their shots. One of the main points she drives is how young these patients are and how this virus can impact your ability to breathe in a matter of days.

"Our patient population is younger this time," said Mellott. "We have to take care of each other."

"I feel like for the majority of patients that I've seen, from their onset of symptoms, somewhere between 10 and 15 days that we'll see the severity of it," Mellott says regarding how long it takes for people to develop the most serious breathing issues.

As we continue losing dozens of Kentuckians a day because of this virus, Mellott says there have been times where families have had to see their loved ones over FaceTime or Zoom in their final days.

"It is a mental, physical, emotional exhaustion," Mellott says. "It is hard not to go home at the end of the day and feel defeated. Myself, along with my co-workers we can be there at bedside to hold their hand so at least their family members know they're not alone at the end."