‘Horrifying scene:’ Volusia County nurse describes ICU amid COVID-19 surge

ICU nurse Lindsey Fairchild’s father died due to COVID-19 in 2020

Lindsey Fairchild is a registered nurse, working in the COVID-19 ICU at a Volusia County hospital. She said hospital beds are filling up and the spike in patients are stretching doctors and nurses thin.

“It’s as bad as it can be. It’s a horrifying scene to go to on a day-to-day basis. People are fighting for their lives and it’s a minute-by-minute struggle. It’s hard to watch, it’s hard to be a part of it and see human beings suffer so greatly and there’s not a whole lot you can do to help them,” said Fairchild.

Fairchild said there are some differences in what she’s seeing in the ICU compared to the height of the pandemic in 2020.

“Before, we were seeing patients who were older and had pre-existing conditions. Now, these people are coming in young. Some not having preexisting conditions and are healthy. People that had COVID and just have a very bad reaction to it,” said Fairchild. “The decline that’s taking place from a respiratory standpoint is happening much quicker.”

COVID has not only impacted Fairchild at work but has also changed her life. Her father died in an Ohio hospital in 2020 after contracting COVID-19.

“I flew to Ohio and took all of my PPE in anticipation to sit at his bedside,” said Fairchild.

Nurses in Ohio hold Lindsey Fairchild's father's hands. He died of COVID-19 in 2020. (WKMG 2021)

Like other families losing their loved ones to the virus, Fairchild wasn’t allowed in the room to see her dad in his final moments due to coronavirus protocol in the hospital. A photo shows two nurses holding her father’s hand as he passed away.

Fairchild continues to care for COVID-19 patients in Volusia County with a new sense of empathy.

“I see my dad in a lot of my patients. You understand what their families are going through and how painful that has to be to not be there with them,” said Fairchild. “A lot of people ask me ‘how can you continue to do this after losing your dad to this?’ I say the same thing. I feel like I have to see this through to the end. I made a commitment to fight for my community. I feel I have to be an advocate and speak on my dad who no longer has a voice.”

Fairchild said she and her children are vaccinated and are encouraging all who are able, to get the shot and to wear a mask to protect themselves and their families.

“Help us to do our jobs and keep our community safe. When we’re spread so thin by irresponsibility, it really makes it difficult to save our community and move past this. Help us help you.”

Lindsey Fairchild is an ICU nurse in Volusia County. (WKMG 2021)

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a multimedia journalist who joined the News 6 team in February 2020. Crystal comes to Central Florida from WKMG’s sister station, WJXT in Jacksonville, where she worked as a traffic anchor and MMJ.