A 25-year-old nurse provides a first-hand account of the mayhem at Detroit's Sinai-Grace hospital, where ER staff are at times made to care for 15 patients at once, when the ideal is four.
Mikaela Sakal was one of the night shift nurses who this month staged a sit-in at the Detroit Medical Center facility to demand more help. In a piece published in The Washington Post, she writes about 12-hour shifts spent hustling from patient to patient, with no time to eat, go to the bathroom and sometimes even drink water.
The conditions compromise patient care, Sakal writes. Staff is spread so thin that, on at least two occassions, she was unable to respond to patients in need in a timely manner. One died.
"It’s a lot to process," writes the rookie nurse. "There’s sadness and guilt and so much anger at the situation. But we had to keep moving."
But protesting the conditions presented Sakal and her colleagues with a dilemma:
Do you accept a situation that’s unsafe for you and your patients, or do you take a stand and walk away from them? Two versions of feeling guilty. It was impossible. It’s still impossible.