Thu, Feb

What It’s Like Working on a Covid-19 Hospital Floor


CORONA WATCH--I’ve been interviewing experts and health care professionals almost every night on Instagram Live. A recent interviewee: Kelsey, a nurse at a major hospital in New York City. (We’re not sharing its name.) Kelsey just celebrated her first year working as a nurse. Now, she’s on the front-line of the coronavirus pandemic, working on her hospital’s infectious disease floor — now completely full of Covid-19 positive patients. Here, some of the most powerful things Kelsey told me during our interview.

On whether her hospital has enough ventilators:

“We need more vents. That’s all I can say. There aren’t enough for the number of people we need to intubate.” 

On the average age of the patients she’s treating:

“I’ve seen patients from age 27 to 89 on my unit. A lot of them are between 30 and 50. Unfortunately these people are just as sick as the older patients… I thought that if [someone my age] got it, we’d be fine, our bodies could fight it. But it really is survival of the fittest. There are people coming in and they have no health concerns whatsoever, and their oxygen stats drop lower and lower, and it happens fast.” 

On communicating with patients’ family members:

“I have to stop and talk with family members. By law, I can’t state how a patient is doing medically — I have to get a doctor on the phone, and they’re always doing something else. So when patients are being intubated, their family members don’t know it. The patient knows it, but their family members don’t. (Read the rest.)