ATLANTA — A travel nurse's passionate plea for help and understanding has gone viral on TikTok, with nearly seven million views.
"One thing that I wish more non-medical people understood when they bring up the survival rate of COVID is that no beds in the hospital means no beds," said Alexis Hinkley in the video. "No beds for your stroke, no beds for your heart attack, no beds for your car crash, no beds for your sick child.”
Hinkley, a travel nurse, said she posted the video after a particularly hard day treating COVID-19 patients.
"We were having like 16 hour wait times and people were waiting days for beds," she explained. "We had like 40 patients in the hallways. That video for me, it was kind of a cry for help."
In the video, Hinkley drove home the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and keeping beds open for emergencies.
"You might be very comfortable with the survival rate of COVID, but how comfortable are you with the survival rate of a massive stroke with no TPA because we can't accept you at any of your local hospitals, because our ED is overflowing," she said in the video. "Are you comfortable with those odds?"
Hinkley said she recognized a lack of understanding about just how dire the situation is.
"I know that a lot of us [nurses] wish we could just strap a GoPro to our heads to show people what's going on, but we can't do that," she said. "I was hoping to just kind of give a little bit of a glimpse into what's going on for the people that might not have the slightest idea.”
As of New Years Eve, at least 85% of hospital beds in the state of Georgia were in use.
In a rare move, six metro Atlanta hospital systems issued a joint statement this week stating that they’re overwhelmed, and urged people to get vaccinated and not come to the ER for COVID tests or non emergency situations.
"You don't want to be sitting there with a broken arm or, god forbid, a stroke, a heart attack, something completely unpreventable and either be looking at a six hour medical flight to another hospital across the country or nothing," said Hinkley. "And that's what a lot of people are looking at right now.”
Hinkley's plea has reached millions around the world.
One commenter wrote: "I’m vaccinated but I lean towards being more 'let people choose' about it. I just wanted to tell you this changed my mind."
Hinkley added she's glad her message is resonating with so many.
“Our health care system in this country is at a tipping point, and I think unfortunately, until it happens to them personally, a lot of people aren't going to realize until it's too late," she said.