Test kits and protective gear have been in short supply, doctors are falling sick, and every day gets more difficult. But the staff keeps showing up.
Dr. Sheri Fink of the New York Times gives us an inside look at a Brooklyn hospital and its staff doing the best they can to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was not even 9 in the morning and Dr. Sylvie de Souza’s green N95 mask, which was supposed to form a seal against her face, was already askew.
In freezing rain on Monday, she trudged in clogs between the emergency department she chairs at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and a tent outside, keeping a sharp eye on the trainee doctors, nurses and other staff members who would screen nearly 100 walk-in patients for the coronavirus that day.
Inside her E.R., more than a dozen people showing signs of infection waited for evaluation in an area used just a few weeks ago for stitches and casts. Another dozen lay on gurneys arranged one in front of the next, like a New York City car park. One man on a ventilator was waiting for space in the intensive care unit.
Minutes before paramedics wheeled in a heart attack patient, Dr. de Souza pointed to beds reserved for serious emergencies, separated by a newly constructed wall from the suspected virus cases. “This is our safe area,” she told a reporter. Then she corrected herself: “This is thought to be safe.” There was really no way to know.