Working on the front lines during a pandemic can leave serious marks. That's what Kathryn, a 28-year-old American intensive care nurse who graduated last May, wanted to show. In gripping before/after photos posted on her Twitter account, the young woman revealed how her face, affected by fatigue, has evolved over the past few months.
‘Devastating to watch people die’
After eight months working in an intensive care unit for Covid-19 patients, Kathryn shared the two photos on social media on November 22nd, accompanied by the caption: ‘How it started/How it’s going.’
In the first photo, she can be seen smiling as she has recently graduated from nursing school. In the second, taken shortly before she posted it, she appears tired with marks on her face, her features drawn by fatigue and the constant wearing of a surgical mask. She wrote in a Tweet:
It is devastating to watch people die when those deaths were avoidable and it's even more devastating when you watch them die the same way, time after time after time. It's devastating that basic common sense and decency has been politicised,.
‘Struck by how exhausted I looked’
How did she come up with the idea to do these shocking before/after photos? She explained to Buzzfeed News:
I had just come out of a Covid room after being in there for quite a while, and I was struck by how exhausted I looked (...) The grooves left by the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on my face were deep and red, and I remember thinking that the reality of being a nurse was nothing like the ideas people seem to have of nurses in their head.
I just wanted people to see what it's really like to take care of the patients that are at the heart of the pandemic (...) My patients deserve better than this. They aren’t political pawns. (...) We all deserve better than how the response to this pandemic has been handled.
A ton of support
But Kathryn probably didn't expect so many emulators: in the days that followed, she received hundreds of messages of support, while her post was shared several thousand times. Many of her fellow healthcare workers also took up the before/after idea on their own behalf, in order to raise awareness of a health crisis that is still leaving its mark. Kathryn says:
Not a single healthcare worker will arrive on the other side of the pandemic unscathed. We’ve seen things that we can never forget.
Watch the video above to see more photos.