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US hospital staff share hardest moments on shift

April 25, 2020 09:05 IST
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The shifts are long and the scenes are heartbreaking inside a Maryland hospital where nurses and doctors have been treating coronavirus patients for weeks, unable to let family inside to visit loved ones on their death beds.

Some of the hospital staff share their toughest moments to show just how heartbreaking this pandemic has been.

All photographs: Rosem Morton/Reuters

>> Julia Trainor

The 23-year-old registered nurse is caring for COVID-19 patients at a surgical intensive care unit where an average shift is around 14 hours. "The hardest moment was having to put a breathing tube
in my patient who could no longer breathe for herself and after the breathing tube went in, we called her family and the husband, of course, couldn't visit her because of visitor restrictions
at the hospital. So I had to put him on the phone and hold the phone to her ear, as he told her that he loved her so much and then I had to wipe away her tears as she was crying," says Trainor,
recounting the toughest moment. "I'm used to seeing very sick patients and I'm used to patients dying but nothing quite like this. In the flip of a switch, without the support, they're completely isolated. They're very sick. Some of them recover and some of them don't. But the hardest part, I would think, is them having to go through this feeling like they are alone."


>> Ernest Capadngan

"The hardest moment during the shift was just seeing Covid-19 patients die helpless and without their family members beside them," said Ernest Capadngan, a registered nurse who works at a biocontainment unit with COVID-19 patients, for 12 hours a day.

>> Tracey Wilson

A nurse practitioner who is caring for COVID-19 patients in an intensive care unit, poses for a photograph after a 12-hour shift, outside the hospital where she works. "I had a patient fall out
of bed today and I had to call his wife and tell her and she couldn't come see him, even though she pleaded and begged to come see him," Wilson said. "There is a lot of unknowns and with that
unknown is a lot of anxiety and stress that we're not used to dealing with."

>> Tiffany Fare

The 25-year-old nurse, who works approximately 13-hour shifts, recounts her hardest moment. "One of the hardest moments was having to see a family member of a Covid-19 patient, say goodbye over
an iPad, rooms away. That was a tough one, I can't imagine how hard it would be to be saying goodbye, you can't see your loved one and then they're gone," Fare said. "My team has been really
great to me. We've worked really well together and we've really come together in this crisis. We don't really know each other, we all come from different units within the same hospital, so for us
to come together and work so well as a team, it's been a journey but I think that's what is giving me hope."

>> Martine Bell

"The hardest thing in all of this, has been taking care of fellow healthcare providers. It really hits home and it's really scary when you see someone that could be you coming in and now you're
taking care of them. It's also hitting home that once healthcare providers start getting sick, who is going to be taking care of the public," Bell said. "It's very stressful, everyone is on edge.
We don't know who's coming in next, or how sick they're going to be, or if we are going to get a whole bunch of people or if we're not going to get no one. It's a really stressful and just a
completely unusual time for all of us."

>> Dr Laura Bontempo

The 50-year-old frontline worker is an emergency medicine doctor who is taking care of COVID-19 patients. "The hardest moments have actually been separating families from patients, there is a
no-visitor policy now and taking people away from their loved ones is very challenging," Bontempo said. "I'm used to treating sick patients. I treat sick patients all the time. It's very different
knowing that the patient you are treating, is actually a risk to you as well. That's the main difference here. No one who works in hospitals is afraid of treating sick people. Just want to
keep staff safe and the patients safe at the same time."

>> Meghan Sheehan

The nurse practitioner said, "I think the hardest moment has been the fear that lives within all of us. There is a lot of unknown right now. We fear what's going to happen tomorrow, how the
emergency department will look next week when we come in. We have fears about our own colleagues, whether they will fall ill. We also fear that we could be asymptomatic carriers and bring this
virus home to our families and our loved ones. There has been a lot of fear over our supplies and whether we'll run out. And then obviously there is the fear that we will see patients and not be
able to do everything we normally can to help save patients' lives," Sheehan said. 

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