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Florida nurse calls ER a ‘cesspool of funky flu’ in viral video

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USA Today NetworkJake Newby, Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal
Published 8:24 a.m. ET Feb. 2, 2018 | Updated 8:29 a.m. ET Feb. 2, 2018

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A Florida nurse posted an epic rant about the flu on Facebook earlier this week, warning people to avoid the “cesspool of funky flu at the ER” unless they have a real emergency. 

In a video, which has been viewed almost 5 million times on Facebook, Katherine Lockler of Milton, Fla., shares her frustration over how people have handled the abnormally harsh flu season. Lockler, who encourages people to wash their “stinking hands” in the video, said she posted the video following a 12-hour shift at the hospital. 

“Please don’t bring your healthy children — especially your newborn babies — into the emergency room,” Lockler said in the video. “And if you don’t have what I call a true emergency, this would not be a time to come to the emergency room.” 

Lockler, who works at multiple emergency rooms in the Northwest Florida area, said she sat down in her car after work on Saturday with the intent to send a message from a health care professional’s perspective.

“The biggest problem for me was seeing people come in to visit and not only being exposed to this awful flu virus, but not taking the correct precautions to get themselves disinfected before going out in the world,” Lockler said. 

More: Got the flu? Stay home! Get better. It’s costing us billions

More: Six children, pregnant woman die from the flu in Tennessee so far this season

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Lockler, who said she’s professionally taken care of people for almost 18 years, used a real-life example to highlight some of the carelessness she said she’s seen this flu season.

“I saw a dad with a toddler crawling on the floor in the emergency room and I approached him and I said, ‘Hey dad, I do not feel that that’s a wise decision, your child is being exposed to some really nasty germs on this emergency room floor,'” Lockler said. “And instead of the dad receiving what a nurse of 10 years is sharing with him, he said, ‘Eh, it’s no big deal, it’ll build his immune system.’ So there’s a lack of understanding and a lack of interest in knowing what to do to protect themselves sometimes.” 

The video on Facebook has been viewed more than 4.9 million times shared almost 100,000 times. Lockler said she believes the post took off when some people in her field of work shared the video. 

As is the case with most viral Internet videos, Lockler’s recording was received positively and negatively. The responses ranged from one man asking Lockler to marry him, to a woman proclaiming that “with an attitude like that, (Lockler) should be in a morgue.” 

Part of what’s made the nearly seven-minute-long video so polarizing was the sarcastic inflection and animated facial expressions and gestures Lockler used at times to get her point across. 

“Watch this, I’m gonna teach y’all a magic trick, it’s amazing!” Lockler said, before pretending to sneeze into her arm as a demonstration on how to limit the spreading of germs.

“Let me show you again in slow motion!” she said, before doing it one more time. 

A mother of four, Lockler admitted that her tone in the video came off a bit like a mother talking to her young kids, but she did not mean to undermine anyone’s intelligence in the video. 

“I think there’s a little bit of sarcasm in my voice because the instructions were given so many times and they were not received well,” Lockler said. “I tend to be sarcastic in all my speaking, but if it’s taken wrong I would definitely apologize to that group that misheard my message because of my tone. The message is still right on the money, but if the tone was offensive, that was not the intention.” 

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