Minnesota nurses claim hospitals mistreat COVID patients

"They're not treating patients like we have for years when it comes to respiratory [illnesses]," one nurse explained.

Minnesota nurses speak at a town hall Monday night in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Some Minnesota nurses alleged during a recent town hall that hospitals abandoned normal courses of treatment for respiratory illnesses out of fear of spreading COVID-19.

Nurses at the town hall hosted by Minnesota Rep. Erik Mortensen said that coronavirus patients have not been given the typical treatments for respiratory illnesses. Normally, patients with lung infections are encouraged to practice breathing exercises and move about. However, during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals became afraid that the usual treatments would aerosolize the virus and allegedly discontinued many of the standard treatments for respiratory illnesses.

“We wanted to prevent aerosolization of the virus,” recalled nurse Samantha Schwartz. “They [the hospitals] weren’t doing the right things for patients because it would be an aerosolizing procedure. They were allowing patients to die because the staff were scared that it [the procedure] was going to aerosolize [the virus],” she said. “People are going to the hospital to die.”

“Before COVID, if anybody had a respiratory illness, they would treat it totally different than [how] they’re treating it right now,” another nurse, Ashley Burg, said. “They [the doctors] would make their patients get up and walk, they’d make them do breathing treatments, they would do breathing exercises, they would pre-treat them for bacterial infection — all of these things are not getting done.”

“They’re not treating patients like we have for years when it comes to respiratory [illnesses],” Burg concluded. “We are putting them in a bed, making them lay there and not move. A person in a bed is dead.”

Other town hall attendees spoke about how their hospitals discouraged or prevented use of drugs like ivermectin to treat coronavirus.

Natalie Barnes, a nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, cited an ongoing University of Minnesota clinical trial, which seeks to test “the medications metformin, ivermectin and fluvoxamine,” since they “appear to possibly stop the proteins inside cells that help viruses reproduce and spread.”

As a basis for conducting the trial, the university says that “reviews of persons who developed COVID-19 while taking metformin suggest they were less likely to be hospitalized or die from the infection.”

Despite this, Barnes said her peers are not open to prescribing these drugs.

Barnes also referenced a U of M study published in the Journal of Medical Virology that found patients treated with metformin enjoyed “significantly lower odds of mortality from COVID-19 disease.”

She also noted how other countries that prescribe these medicines “have less technology than we do and they’re having better outcomes.”

“There are effective treatments … get the politics out of it,” another nurse chimed in as ivermectin was being discussed.

Mortensen said he was “blown away” to hear how many medical professionals have the same complaints about how coronavirus patients have been treated. “I’m shocked,” he told the audience at the town hall.

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