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Heroes of COVID-19: Intensive Care Unit at Tucson Medical Center

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TUCSON (KVOA) - News 4 Tucson is paying tribute to the local heroes of the COVID-19 crisis including those working in Tucson Medical Center’s intensive care unit. 

“I look back and the amount of death we have, these young nurses haven't seen ever. I don't think I have ever come close to seeing what we've seen I would say in the last year I’ve seen more death than in the first 10 years of my career,” said registered nurse Jenny Tuttle, ICU manager at TMC. 

Jenny Tuttle says they are all emotionally exhausted watching patients lose their lives to COVID-19. 

“Sixty to 70 percent of these people pass away on a ventilator and those are not normally our statistics and I think that is what wears on us and saddens us. You can tell over the months, I have nurses I talk to them and we talk to each other, we have trouble sleeping, we are challenged and I choke up quicker than I used to,” said Tuttle. 

However, Tuttle says they know they have a job to do. 

“You don't choose nursing because it is an easy job, you choose nursing because you care about people and at the end of the day that is what gets you out of bed particularly in the ICU, no one else can do your job.” 

Doing their job in the middle of a pandemic, a situation she says they never would have predicted. 

“Now that we have gone through it our numbers are starting to improve and it makes me realize how strong we can be when you need to be,” said Tuttle. 

They are stronger together with the help of doctors such as Adam Dadeppo who specializes in anesthesiology. 

“The hard days in the operating room are nothing like the hard days in the ICU. Here it takes an emotional toll, a mental toll, it kind of wipes you out, but the people you work with the doctors, nurses, we are kind of all in it together to try and make as much fun of it as you can, keeping each other's spirits up,” said Doctor Dadeppo. 

The men and women working in the intensive care unit must keep their spirits up to keep fighting for their patients and their community. 

“I'm merely a representative of the hard work my team does here at Tucson Medical Center ICU. We are proud to be here for you and you need to know we are here for you. I can't thank my staff for stepping up, for what they've done here and I am very proud of the team work at TMC and our nursing staff,” said Tuttle. 

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Amanda Gomez

Amanda Gomez anchors News 4 Tucson at 4, 6 and 10 p.m.

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