5 Oct 2021

ICU-treated woman fears for health system if Covid-19 spreads

From Morning Report, 8:14 am on 5 October 2021

A woman who spent five days in ICU is pleading with people to get the Covid-19 vaccine so they do not use up critical care beds.

Corridor hospital

Photo: Supplied

Amber Dryden said ICU stopped her from losing a leg or possibly even dying after a serious car crash in 2017.

She said she was now terrified hospitals would end up at capacity from people who did not get the vaccine and people like her who have accidents or medical emergencies would not be able to get help.

"There was oil on the road, and unfortunately the oil build-up on my tires meant that I lost control and crashed into ANZAC bridge just near Eketahuna in the Wairarapa."

She was airlifted from the scene and taken to the Palmerston North Hospital ICU in critical condition.

"No one was really sure at this point, you know what damage had been done to my head, or my brain, and my organs, all they could see was that my bones were broken, one of my bones came out of my leg, bone came through my skin."

From here Dryden spent five days in ICU where she was stabilised.

Without that care and expertise from the staff in ICU Dryden knows her outcome would have been very different.

"I was actually facing losing my leg, my right leg from my knee down.

"They told my family that you know, prepare for the leg to come off below the knee.

"But without being seen immediately, and those people who are trained to put me back together, I would have definitely have lost my leg."

Dryden said she was now terrified at the possibility that help would not be available for people who were in need but the beds were taken up by Covid-19 patients.

"If people are using the beds in ICU because they need to be on ventilation or they need specialist medical treatment because they can't breathe themselves or they can feed themselves, can't look after themselves.

"That makes people who were are in my situation terrified."

"You know, we're also talking about people who have cardiac arrest, strokes any other health problem that would lead somebody to be into ICU.

"It terrifies me to think that people are just taking a risk and would rather catch Covid-19."

Dryden said people made choices to keep safe every day.

"Regardless of the law, you can choose not to wear your seatbelt, but you just need to know that the outcome of a car accident whether you're wearing a seatbelt, or whether you're not wearing a seatbelt can be vastly, vastly different.

"And it's the same with the Covid vaccine, yes, you may still catch Covid, but your symptoms will be hugely reduced after having the vaccine.

"So it's like wearing you're wearing your seatbelt in the car, choose wisely and save your life and save other people's life heading into ICU."