COLUMBUS, Ohio — "I had a patient ask me as he was rolling to the ICU if he could have the vaccine,” said Dr. Nora Colburn, Medical Director of Clinical Epidemiology at the Ross Heart Hospital, “And it just broke my heart."
For Dr. Colburn, it’s the most challenging time in her career.
"What's happening right now and the deaths that are happening are largely preventable,” she said. “And it's so sad."
As an infectious disease doctor, she’s helping to lead an entire hospital through a pandemic.
On top of it all, she's a new mom.
"Every mom wants their baby to be healthy,” she said.
She thought returning from maternity leave right back into the thick of the pandemic would be her scariest, most exhausting days yet.
But sadly, she was wrong.
"The last month or so has been really hard,” she said. “It's been really emotional, it's been really draining and just so sad to see critically ill pregnant women struggling to breathe, having their babies be monitored and having the warming bed right outside their door because there may need to be an emergency delivery."
She says more and more mothers are getting hospitalized with COVID-19 and delivering early.
"I have seen pregnant young mothers in the ICU."
It weighs heavy because she says most patients are unvaccinated.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an opportunity expecting moms have now.
It's one Dr. Colburn didn’t have when she was pregnant because vaccines weren't ready yet.
She's asking expecting moms to get the shot, something she wishes she could have done, not just for herself but also for her son, who just turned one.
"To be pushed again to the limits and to the extremes of seeing all these sick patients when it's completely preventable, it's almost too much to bare,” she said.
Dr. Colburn says misinformation is preventing expecting moms from getting the shot and she says there are two major points women need to know: Vaccines cannot cause infertility and vaccines are safe in pregnancy.