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Avera Medical Minute: Hidden heroes at McKennan hospital

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 10:50 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As you watch Barb Knudtson put on her PPE, you may think she’s about to give medicine to a patient or help with a procedure. Actually, Knudtson is a part of a very valuable team, especially during the pandemic. She’s a custodian at Avera McKennan Hospital at takes her job very seriously.

“Sometimes I’m wondering Oh did I wipe this off did I wipe that off, or did I forget this or that,” said Knudtson.

Knowing that many patients can’t have a loved one by their bedside, she’s extended her list of duties...

“You can always encourage the patients that are, you know, kind of losing their courage and stuff, you know, trying to give up because every day I see somebody going to ICU,” said Knudtson.

Just before she talked to us, she was offering hope to a patient.

“He was having trouble breathing and I just keep encouraging him, and he seemed like he really appreciated it,” said Knudtson.

Her co-worker Timsen Dajaane prepares for the extra time to deep clean every surface.

“It’s hard. It’s hard to clean...If the patient just went home, you take more time to clean the room,” said Dajaane.

These essential workers are making a difference.

“It makes me feel proud of my job, that I’m contributing part of myself,” said Knudtson.

“I can help. I can do that a hundred percent. I’m very, very happy to do this,” said Dajaane.

As they clean and disinfect, their mind is on protecting the patients their co-workers, and that they don’t bring home the virus to their family.

“It is so hard to have the mask. But we have to wait until the COVID is done...we don’t know when. But it still, we have to keep it even outside, even inside,” said Dajaane.

Seeing how COVID-19 has affected the patients has affected Knudtson deeply.

“My life changed because I’m more aware now of my surroundings and I think everybody should wear a mask, make sure their loved ones wear masks, wash your hands, social distancing, and you got to protect the older people too,” said Knudtson.

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