An ICU nurse in Southern California took to TikTok last week to express heartfelt concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on hospital capacity. That video’s gone viral as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. have reached record numbers and are poised to further increase.
Gayana Chuklansev posted her TikTok video plea on Dec. 21, which garnered 1.4 million views and more than 400,000 likes within 10 days of being posted.
It begins, "I don't know how else to say this, but I am begging you guys: Please stop being careless. We have no ventilators for patients, we have no sedating medications, patients are dying like flies."
According to Chuklansev's LinkedIn bio, she's a part-time nurse with Emanate Health, a healthcare network serving the San Gabriel Valley in the Los Angeles metro area. As COVID-19 hospitalizations reached record levels earlier in the week, at least one L.A. hospital was making triage preparations to prepare for an anticipated post-Christmas surge in patient numbers that Chuklansev warned about.
"We're full," Chuklansev tearfully explained in the video. "We're at max capacity, we have no resources, we have no staff. Our doctors can't even intubate because they have like 40 patients each. It's a war zone, and we're asking for help, but help's not coming."
She goes on to say, "Nurses are getting all these messages saying, 'You signed up for this.' We didn't sign up to watch patients die because we physically cannot help them. So please stop being careless. Please stay home during the holidays because it's only going to get worse."
The Daily Mail, which signal-boosted her video with Wednesday's article on it, noted that her "heart-wrenching message struck a nerve with many viewers who echoed her sentiments in the comments." (The video's generated more than 12,000 comments to date.)
The video is a contrast from Chuklansev's typically lighter TikTok fare about being a new mom and a nurse, as in her adaptation of a meme, "Tell me you're a nurse without actually telling me you're a nurse."
It comes at a critical time in the fight against the pandemic. NBC News reported that on Tuesday, California implemented extended stay-at-home orders for parts of the state with limited hospital capacity.
"We certainly know that Southern California hospitals are in crisis, and some have begun to implement parts of crisis care," Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in the report.