In three weeks, the coronavirus claimed the lives of nearly as many Americans as the September 11 attack. The medical staff makes every effort so that their number does not grow. A nurse from Ukraine, working in a hospital in Manhattan, said what is happening today at the forefront of the disease. She emphasized that there is no need to make heroes out of doctors, and explained why. This publication writes "Voice of America".
Today, New York is called the new Wuhan, because the city has developed the most difficult situation in all of America. Here the sounds of the sirens of the ambulances do not cease for a minute. Every day, several thousand new coronavirus infections are discovered in the city.
To express support for medical workers who save New Yorkers' lives, the most famous US skyscraper Empire State Building was highlighted with white and red colors, which symbolizes the beacons of rescue vehicles.
One of the nurses, Ukrainian Irina Kot, spoke about how it feels to save human lives at the very epicenter of the disease.
At the front line
Irina Kot is 28 years old. She works as a nurse in one of the largest hospitals in New York. Most coronavirus infected people go through this hospital in Manhattan, located near Central Park. “Am I scared? I try not to think about it, because then I would be sick to go to work, ”Irina laughs. Despite the hard work, she often smiles and tries to maintain a good mood.
Nurses work 12 hours, so it’s important to set yourself up morally, the girl said. Upon entering the hospital, all your problems must be left behind the door.
Since the beginning of March, when the COVID-19 epidemic began in the United States, Irina works either in the infectious diseases and resuscitation departments or in the emergency rooms. It is there that they are testing for coronavirus. In fact, Irina is at the forefront today. Recently, her hospital has deployed open-air tents in Central Park, as the building will soon not be enough for all places. Everything, as in wartime, the author notes.
How paramedics defend
A respirator, gloves and a yellow disposable robe that is tied to the side on a bow - that’s all the ammunition. “I saw that in Italy or even in Ukraine, doctors have whole overalls. It's so cool! We don’t have this, ”Irina sighs. “They give us one mask a day, and that’s on condition that you find the right size.” I have a small face, and it’s rare to find suitable masks, there are only ordinary ones. ”
All that Irina talks about with her colleagues at work these days is what to do when the masks end.
On the other hand, she says, after two hours of masking, you want to take it off. “You sweat, the respirator presses on your face and leaves deep marks on it with bruises, but you cannot correct it because you put yourself at risk. And if the mask sits incorrectly, they will not give you the second one, ”the nurse complains.
But in any case, the lack of self-defense worries Irina much more than the inconvenience. Working without them is dangerous for both physicians and patients. “Perhaps you will save the man. But if you get sick yourself, it will be much worse, because 20-30 patients will be left unattended, ”Irina explains.
The girl said that in one of the New York clinics, doctors put on garbage bags instead of overalls. Soon, a nurse from that department contracted the coronavirus and died.
Shoemaker without shoes
When asked about how many doctors got infected during the outbreak of coronavirus in the hospital where Irina works, she replied: “I would also like to know that. But we don’t know, they don’t test us. ” Precisely because there are not enough tests, Irina explained.
However, she clarifies, not everything is so simple. “If tomorrow the test shows that I have a coronavirus, then what does this mean? Does this mean that I should not go to patients? - the girl asks. “But they are all infected, too.”
Meanwhile, her hospital transferred the physicians at risk to other departments. In the infectious, young and healthy remained to work. If they even get sick, they will most likely have mild symptoms and will continue to take care of the patients.
New York has the largest number of tests in the United States, but still not enough for everyone. Despite the fact that the detected infections in the state are in the tens of thousands, the real number of patients here is much higher, the source notes. Only those who need hospitalization, that is, patients with moderate to severe symptoms, are checked. Young people without additional illnesses, even if they have been in contact with an infected person, are sent home for self-isolation. “We'd rather use this test for someone difficult to understand if it's COVID-19 or the flu. People with strong immunity will be able to recover on their own, while others cannot cope without our help. They don't have artificial respiration machines at home. "
Everybody wants to test
But everyone wants to be tested, because when you know everything about your state of health, it becomes calmer. “A few days ago, a car flew right under the door of our Emergency Room,” says Irina. - We instantly ran out - maybe a person has a heart attack or a stroke? A woman comes out, crying and screaming that her husband is infected and that his head hurts. ” Irina sighs. The girl shows that she is tired of such stories. In the USA, she explained, people perceive it this way: “I pay taxes, so this is my legal right (to get help. - Ed.). "
Despite this, the nurse insists that her hospital does not divide people into rich and poor. Today, an important congressman or millionaire may lie in one chamber, and in a few days an illegal migrant or a homeless person. If a person suffocates, they will definitely get a coronavirus test and take it. The hospital resolves the issue of insurance and payment later, if necessary, through a court. But it will be later - first, the main thing is to help.
COVID-19 - a disease of loneliness
Those who are admitted to the hospital will face a difficult struggle. Perhaps the most difficult in their lives, Irina notes. She told how her patients described their feelings: “This is the impression that an elephant is sitting on your chest. It is very difficult for them to breathe. They cough, cough, cough - it seems that they are about to suffocate, but do not suffocate. "
Sometimes a person just has to cough. “But the worst part is that at this time you are standing at a distance, and you can’t do anything - because then the drops will fall on you. At such moments, I feel helpless, ”the girl said.
COVID-19 is a disease of loneliness. After all, relatives and friends are forbidden to visit relatives in the hospital so as not to get infected. Some put tablets near their beds to be constantly on video. At the same time, they continue to call doctors several times a day to make sure that everything is fine with their relatives.
Nurses perform an important function: they not only save the sick, but also help their families experience it easier. For example, if the patient feels a little better, it is important to tell his family about it - to cheer him up. "Changes in his health (in the health of the patient. - Ed.) may seem insignificant to us, but for his relatives they will mean a lot. Therefore, even if the patient has not had a temperature all night, I’ll always say this in order to console him a little. ”
Now many are panicking, but health workers cannot afford it, because they must bring peace to people, said Irina.
Doctors also try not to approach patients unnecessarily. If possible, they talk to them through the speakerphone of the phone, keeping a distance. Nurses cannot afford such luxury, because the temperature cannot be measured with a telephone. Therefore, during the day, Irina often wonders: “Have I washed my hands today?”, “Have you touched anything?”, “Am I now infected?”.
Irina said that while the patient is in a regular ward, nurses do not interfere much: they help primarily with oxygen and drugs, and then it is up to the human body.
The real fight begins in intensive care. “We are trying very hard. Ventilation, droppers - what we just do. These are not just some people - they have parents, brothers, sisters. Someone is thinking about them. When you approach this from this perspective, you want to do everything. ”
But sometimes even all efforts in the world are not enough to save a person. “They die alone from the coronavirus - even relatives are not allowed into the ward. It is very difficult. You cannot give vent to emotions and sit holding the hand of a person who is dying. You just have to ease the last minutes of his life, ”said Irina.
After that, you need to calm your family. “There are a lot of hard conversations now,” the girl explained.
“We are not heroes”
Coronavirus killed almost the same number of people in the United States in just a month as the September 11 attack. To ensure that the number of victims does not increase, the medical staff makes every effort.
Irina believes that doctors do not do anything special. She is glad that they began to notice their work, but after all, before the medical staff did the same. “Now everyone makes heroes with us. I think it's wrong. Very wrong, ”the girl says. - Earlier we saved many other patients, now the priorities have just changed a little. But we are not heroes - we just do our daily work. ”
Many doctors quit this month so as not to endanger themselves, some became infected and died. Irina says she is trying not to panic, because it worsens the immune system. “The zone of my control is in the hospital, the rest is not in my hands,” she argues.
At the same time, the nurse is very worried about relatives - for the 67-year-old father and husband with whom he lives. Her father smokes, and this creates an additional burden on the lungs. “God forbid to bring the virus home. I would have been ill easily, and dad ... What if I infected him? He probably would not have survived in the hospital. I see people in the hospital every day, ”says Irina without a smile on her face.
Father Irina works at night, so they hardly see each other now. In those rare moments when both are at home, try to avoid contact. But sometimes the father can not resist - it happens, he will come up from behind, silently stroke his daughter on the back and then go about his business. Doesn't want her to worry.
To protect loved ones, Irina, after each shift, washes clothes and takes a shower.
Despite the disappointing forecasts and the huge number of deaths from the coronavirus, Irina tries to think about the future "with optimistic realism." “I'm just preparing myself for the fact that this can last a long time. It’s easier than waking up every morning and thinking that it’s not over yet. ” She notes that if you look at the statistics, it becomes clear: it will not pass in a day or even in a month. Now, according to the nurse, New York is experiencing a peak incidence of COVID-19. “But this is a pandemic, and it is everywhere. And when you understand that you are not alone in this struggle, it becomes a little easier, ”Irina summed up.