IU Health tech describes caring for COVID19 patients

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AVON, Ind. — Doctors, nurses, hospital chaplains and technologists are unwavering in their care of COVID-19 patients. Jade Vangundy cares for those suffering through the virus at IU Health West Hospital until they can go home, or until the patient takes his/her last breath.

“When you do something like this, you don’t do it for recognition, or ‘oh well I’ll be famous or whatever,’” Vangundy replied. “You do it because it’s the right thing to do; because you would want it to be done to your family member.”

Vangundy has served as a surgical technologist for around three years, but the job she does with Coronavirus patients is much different.

“We don’t see death, we don’t see things like that,” Vangundy explained. “We take sick patients and we make them better. We don’t get to see this side of it. So, it is very hard for us.”

Vangundy was with Kim Blanchar, a COVID-19 patient who passed away Thursday, until her final hour.

“My main priority was to give her whatever she needed and to make her as comfortable as possible, and to let her know that she wasn’t alone,” Vangundy said. “I know that her family had stated that was one of the things she was very afraid of was dying alone and dying in general. So, I just wanted to be there and comfort her, and just let her know that she wasn’t going to be alone the whole time she was there.”

Blanchar’s family stayed on the phone with her around the clock from Monday to Thursday. Jade was there some of that time.

“A couple colleagues and myself, we took turns sitting in the room with her and holding her hand,” Vangundy explained. “Her family was on the phone, on speaker with her, so she could hear them but at one point the phone was disconnected. So, I just put on some Christian music on my phone and just holding her hand and just kind of singing along with it. I was praying for her also. Her family called back, and I just let them know that I was in there and that I was with her, so they knew also that she wasn’t alone.”

Vangundy said there are days when she will cry on her way home from work, but her co-workers help her cope with the reality within the hospital.

“Everyone else who’s on the floor, they all have COVID or whatever on them, so we all just give each other hugs and we call it the ‘COVID Hug,’” Vangundy said. “Because, when we come home, we can’t hug our family members right away, so we just give each other ‘COVID Hugs.’”

Vangundy shared what happens when COVID-19 patients get to leave the hospital.

“To boost the morale of everyone, when a patient is discharged, we actually play Here Comes the Sun over the intercom for the whole hospital,” Vangundy said. “So, we come out in the hallway and we cheer and clap. We just do whatever we can to just boost morale for healthcare workers and patients.”

Nurses and technologists are working to bring an iPad to the patients who want to talk to their families. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them to give everyone all the time they desire.

So, Blanchar’s family and the IU Health Foundation are taking donations to purchase more iPads specifically to fill this need. You can learn more by visiting, iuhealth.org.

If you would like to donate an iPad, you can call the IU Health Foundation for more information. The number is 317-962-1777.

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