Texas nurse describes ‘the pit’ where Covid patients are sent to die as hospitals overflow with corpses

A TEXAS nurse has described a room dubbed "the pit" to which coronavirus patients are sent to die as hospitals reach capacity amid a rise in local cases.

Lawanna Rivers, a travelling nurse, was speaking in a viral video posted to social media after being sent on assignment to the University Medical Center in El Paso.



Texas currently has the largest coronavirus outbreak of any state, and last week became the first to register over one million cases since the start of the pandemic.

El Paso is one of the state's worst-hit regions, and as of Sunday had 32,687 active cases of the virus.

Speaking in the video, which ran for 50 minutes, a visibly emotional Rivers said: "I saw a lot of people died that I feel like shouldn't have died.

"That assignment there broke me.

"I was put in what's called a 'pit', and in this pit was eight patients, all Covid positive.

"On my first day of orientation I was told, 'Whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a bodybag'."

El Paso has seen 803 coronavirus deaths so far.

The city has set up four mobile morgues to help deal with additional demand, but city officials expect a total of ten will be needed, the New York Post reported.

Last week also saw the city extend a two-week municipal lockdown that had been due to expire on Wednesday.

Describing conditions at the hospital, Rivers continued: "I'm used to, when we run codes [emergency procedures], we do everything we can, we exhaust all measures to save our patients.

"Anybody that knows anything about CPR, one round is two minutes, which normally includes chest compressions and bagging them [using a handheld resuscitator].

"The patients that we coded, we were not allowed to bag them because we would get too much exposure.

"And because they were Covid positive, this hospital's policy was they only get three rounds of CPR, which is only six minutes.

"Out of all the codes that we had there, there's not a single patient that made it.

"If those doctors there would aggressively treat those patients from the beginning a lot more would make it."

She then alleged that one patient, the wife of a doctor, did survive after receiving preferential treatment.

"When I say they pulled out all the stops for that woman, there wasn't nothing that they didn't do.

"She was the one person that made it out of that ICU alive and was able to downgrade."

Rivers also described the personal toll that working on the unit had taken, saying: "I am not ok from an emotional mental standpoint."

Approached for comment on the claims by local station ABC-7, the University Medical Center said: "After watching the video, while we cannot fully verify the events expressed, we empathize and sympathize with the difficult, physical and emotional toll that this pandemic takes on thousands of healthcare workers here and throughout our country.

"This particular travel nurse was at UMC briefly to help El Paso confront the surge of Covid-19 patients."

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