When we hear about hospitals running out of ICU beds and having to ration care, we may erroneously picture Hollywood movie scenes with frantic healthcare workers hustling constantly with patients and crash carts being frantically wheeled around.

That kind of hectic scene might happen in a single mass tragedy event in an emergency room, but a real ICU isn't like that, even when it's full. The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) is where patients go when they are severely ill or have sustained injuries that require ongoing, life-saving care. Saving lives in the ICU is a days, weeks, and sometimes even months-long endeavor, where nurses and doctors get to know patients a little before sending them home (which is always the hope) or saying goodbye (which has happened far too often in the past 18 months).

A crew from 4 News Now in Spokane was granted rare access to the ICU at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where COVID-19 is taking a toll on doctors and nurses.

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