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.
One of the hardest moments for Julia Trainor was helping intubate a patient, and then calling the patient's husband so he could talk to his wife. He was not allowed in the hospital. "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," says Trainor, who works in a surgical intensive care unit. "I'm used to seeing very sick patients and I'm used to patients dying, but nothing quite like this."
"The hardest moment was a young woman who died and her family wasn't able to be here with her," Bowers said. "I think right now, it's just frustrating and scary just not knowing what comes next.”
"Since it's a new virus, we don't have any experience with it. For most diseases, I am used to seeing it and taking care of it, and this, I don't have any starting place. I know what I'm hearing from New York. I have read all the papers it seems like, but no one knows what the correct answers are, so there's a huge amount of uncertainty and people are really really sick. So, it's hard to second guess whether or not you are doing the right thing when you think you are but you never quite know."
"The hardest moment of my shift today, I was in charge, and we had a really sick patient that was in a really, really small room and usually when we have sick crashing patients, we have a ton of resources and a ton of staff to go in and help with the nurse and the doctors that are taking care of that patient. But due to the patient being ruled out for coronavirus, we could only have five or six people at a time and putting on all the gowns and gloves and masks and face shields to protect us in case the patient does have coronavirus, it takes awhile, so the nurse that was there, ended up being in the room for you know 6, 7 hours with minimal breaks and it was hard being in charge and knowing that she was stuck in the room and really nothing I could do to help her."
"Seeing these new [COVID-19 positive] moms have babies has been the hardest moment along with having to do their pumping for the new moms and them not being able to be with their newborn children, it's hard to think of the family they are missing.”
"The hardest moment during the shift was just seeing COVID patients die helpless and without their family members beside them."
"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."
Cheryll Mack says she tries to get outside for 15 minutes during the day to breathe. "It has given me relief, just fresh air."
"One of the hardest moments was having to see a family member of a COVID patient say goodbye over an iPad," says Tiffany Fare. "You can't see your loved one and then they're gone."
"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."
"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."
"We have a lot of patients and they are pretty sick right now but we have not yet been hit as hard as New York or Seattle, so I feel like we are very lucky with that so far. Everyday you just have to be optimistic."
"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."
When she gets home, she tries hard not to dwell on the day. "I go home, I shower immediately and try to have dinner with family, and try to not talk about it," she said. "Night time is definitely the hardest because you're constantly thinking about what the next day will bring."