Nurses and doctors are seeing firsthand the devastation that COVID-19 is wreaking on patients, their families, and the healthcare system. While many people are chafing to know when they can leave the house again, healthcare workers are begging people to stay home and respect social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading further. The high mortality rate and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus means that hospitals are overwhelmed, particularly in New York City. the state has been hit harder than anywhere in the U.S.
It’s easy to feel disconnected when you’re just reading the facts and figures, but a video posted to Facebook by nurse D’neil Schmall has cut through to the heart of the matter. Schmall is working in a temporary field hospital set up in Central Park by Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. It should be noted that the NGO is known for hateful LGBTQ+ views, but the Atlantic reports that they’ve been allowed to operate in NYC because the city is in need of so much relief.
Her video has been shared over 24 thousand times. Schmall wrote in the caption that she posted this after an hour of crying in her hotel room, feeling in the “worst shape” she’s been in. “I think it’s important for ppl to see what we go threw when we get home,” Schmall wrote.
She also added some info about what conditions are like at the field hospital:
After 4-5hrs sleep We’re walking 8-11 miles in a 13-15hrs shift. 5–6 days a week. The Majority of our PPE is made out of plastic like wearing a sweat suit all day. Assignments of 10-16 patients per nurse.
She explained that she still loves her job and there is no way she’s leaving—”But that doesn’t mean frontliners aren’t human and won’t be emotional about this experience as well,” she added.
The video is mostly Schmall’s raw thoughts. She is openly emotional throughout.
“I don’t think people understand how stressful this job is?” she says. “I was trained for anything in the world, but this is so stressful… If you have ever felt any time would be appropriate to have compassion for each other, right now is the time when we should all have compassion for each other, and try to at least acknowledge what the other person is going through. I just have so much sadness.”
She says mental health workers should be available to staff. She feels unable to share what she’s going through with family.
“I can’t call my mom because then she’ll be worried about me—she never wanted me to come here from the beginning. I can’t call my sisters ‘cause I don’t want to stress them out.”
The 35-year-old traveled to NYC to help on March 30th. She’s been there just about a week. The pandemic may go on for months, potentially up to a year. Stay home to help the heroes on the frontlines.