I-Team 8

Rabbi offers plea from health care front line: ‘COVID is a cruel disease’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The numbers from Indiana’s hospitals are only part of the story.

One in four patients in the hospital right now have COVID. As of Tuesday, that is over 3,300 people statewide. There are less than 100 open hospital beds in Marion County and they are filling up fast.

From the front line comes the voice of a rabbi pleading with people that the health care system is overwhelmed and there is no relief in sight.  

The tweets from Rabbi Mike Harvey are a dispatch from the front line. Harvey is a resident chaplain with the IU Health hospital system assigned to an intensive care unit. In 20 tweets, he described in detail the agony of this disease known as COVID-19. 

“At this point they are struggling and are intubated these are people who are vaccinated and or immunocompromised or unvaccinated and are in need of serious attention which is why they are with us in the ICU,” Harvey said. 

On Twitter, he wrote, “So what is it like walking down the halls of the pods of the ICU. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s quiet. Why? Because these folks are all intubated, hooked up to massive amounts of equipment, machines breathing for them, and feeding them through tubes.” 

In the tweets, the rabbi describes in detail how staff is overworked and the patients who are dying are replaced by a steady stream of the newly infected.  

“Sometimes there are patients that are there for weeks at a time and we build rapport and we get to know the family and we root for the family, we root for the patient,” he said. “And things don’t go the way we hope they will go, and so we experience that pain and that loss and that happens a little more often than people think.”

He says the loss of a patient hits the staff hard and the repeated loss takes a toll on everyone involved.  

“They tell us to try to pray. Can you image sitting in my PPE gear, my N95 pinching my face, my face shield fogging up, my gloves tight on my hands, and the unvaccinated wife who made her husband refuse vaccination asked me to pray for him as he lays dying? What is there to pray for? COVID is a cruel disease. It is taking those that did the right thing, who got the jab, but who are those millions of immunocompromised Americans infected by the unvaccinated and the thoughtless,” Harvey said. 

Harvey and others are pleading with people to get vaccinated.