Local nurse returns from New York, talks about caring for patients

Coronavirus

A local nurse practitioner with ReforMedicine in Eau Claire recently returned from New York City after spending three weeks working in the ICU at a hospital in the Bronx.

Bob Gallaher spoke with Dr. Christina Funk, DNP, FNP-C, APNP Thursday about working on the front lines and the events of the past 24 hours with the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturning the “Safer-at-Home” order.

“There was a part of me that kind of had this romantic thought that I was going into a war zone…,” Funk said.

Christina Funk worked in a New York City ICU for 21 straight days, caring for patients at Jacobi Medical Center. Even though she knew she was jumping into the middle of a pandemic, she says her nursing experiences were not what she expected.

“I was thinking more like there would be people lined up in all the hallways of the hospital and we would be running from one patient to the next, kind of like what you would see in the movies. But instead, it was almost more sobering because I was in a regular hospital setting, working in a regular ICU, but it was more ominous,” said Funk.

Funk says patients who needed ventilators were able to get them, the problem is hospitals in New York City are overburdened and she says people are not able to get the care that they need.

Here in the Chippewa Valley, Funk says our health care system is able to provide the necessary care to the current limited number of COVID-19 patients including this Jackson County patient recently released from HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.

“I think that you can attribute the success rate here to the fact that our hospital systems are not over run,” said Funk. “So, if someone needed life-saving interventions, some of the things that some of my patients in New York couldn’t have because there wasn’t enough and it goes beyond ventilators. The people here will get what they need because our systems, they have the resources and I think we have good health care systems.”

In light of Wednesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling overturning the “Safer-at-Home” order, the local nurse practitioner says it’s important the state opens thoughtfully and with a well laid out plan.

“I think the last couple of months with stay-at-home orders, the goal has been to flatten the curve and not over run our healthcare systems. Not necessarily reduce deaths and as callous as that might sound, I think there is a certain proportion of the population that will get and have poor outcomes. At some point we will have to re-open but I just hope that there is science and reasoning behind the plans and there are well thought out plans for how that plays out,” Funk said.

Christina Funk says while she went to New York City believing she would probably contract COVID-19, she’s happy to report she was tested before she left New York and again since she returned, and both tests came back negative. Most importantly, she’s thrilled to be home safe with her family.

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