NYC nurse details grim conditions on COVID-19 front lines

A New York City nurse working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic outlined the harsh reality of caring for patients amid severe supply shortages and a lack of personal protective equipment in a recent article from The Wall Street Journal.

Christina Norstein, 57, works in the intensive care unit at Montefiore Medical Center's Moses campus in the Bronx.

Over the past few weeks, Ms. Norstein and her colleagues have witnessed many grim images, including freezer trucks collecting bodies from the hospital. They say four to five patients are dying per emergency room shift, and colleagues who are fine one day become gravely ill the next, according to WSJ.

Many clinicians exhibit symptoms like a dry cough, but continue to work, according to Ms. Norstein and her colleagues. As of March 30, more than 800 patients and 311 employees across New York City-based Montefiore Health System had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Ms. Norstein said ICU nurses are taking on three to four times their normal patient load, which is creating care delays. On March 28, her attending physician told her to start lowering sedation levels for patients on ventilators, since the hospital's supply of drugs for intubated patients was dwindling. 

Despite all these challenges, Ms. Norstein said she's seen "teamwork like I've never experienced" among the nurses. 

"Montefiore is working at the direction of the Governor and following CDC and Department of Health protocols to protect our workforce and treat our patients," a spokesperson for the health system told WSJ.

To view WSJ's full article, click here.


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