The New York Times

The New York Times 6 Apr 2020

Inside a New York City I.C.U. Battling Coronavirus


The Brooklyn Hospital Center is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Frontline health care workers have worked tirelessly to save the lives of those infected with COVID-19. CBS News is premiering a special tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT titled, "Bravery and Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line." It takes a look inside one major New York City hospital during the height of the pandemic. Executive producer Guy Campanile joined CBSN with a preview.
President Trump announced that an additional 600,000 N95 masks will be delivered to New York City hospitals to aid in the coronavirus fight.

U.S. military medical personnel are delivering aid to coronavirus patients at a field hospital at the Javits Center in New York City, Sunday, April 5.

As New York City deals with a mounting COVID-19 death toll and dwindling morgue space, the city has shortened the amount of time it will hold unclaimed remains before they are buried in the city's public cemetery.

Under the new policy, the medical examiner's office will keep bodies in storage for 14 days before they're buried in the city's potter's field on Hart Island.

Normally, about 25 bodies a week are interred on the island, mostly for people whose families can't afford a funeral, or who go unclaimed by relatives.


… show captions ↓
A lot of times, doctors and nurses
almost feel invulnerable, but it’s hard for them
to see their colleagues being admitted to the hospital
and not have that sense of invulnerability shattered.
I’m Sheri Fink.
I’m a correspondent at The New York Times.
Many years ago, I went to medical school.
Victor Blue, a photographer, and I spent some time
at Brooklyn Hospital.
“So what is he on, drug-wise?”
This hospital, just within the last week,
had almost doubled the capacity to treat patients
in the intensive care unit.
“The opportunity for beds here are pretty significant.”
The staff members from all over the hospital
were helping out, so there were
nurses from the cardiac catheterization lab.
There were podiatry physicians.
There was a neurosurgery physician assistant
helping out.
I think what really stood out to me
was the toll on the medical providers and the fact
that so many of the staff members are sick.
One of the hospital’s employees
was admitted to the intensive care unit while I was there.
“And we do that for our nurses, one,
because they actually go through the most P.P.E.,
because they have so many tasks they have to do.”
Dr. Josh Rosenberg — he’s an intensive care unit doctor.
I feel like he was bouncing on his toes the whole time.
“Easier and I waste less P.P.E.
And that way I’m in and all the rooms are done.”
And then I found out that he himself had been out
and this was his first day back.
It just highlights how brave the people are
for showing up every day and doing their work.
“The blood gas looks pretty darn skippy.”
In one case, a patient, their cardiac status —
the ability of the heart to pump blood everywhere
that it’s needed — was starting to have some problems.
So, in this case, they were starting
what’s called a central line.
And that way, they could administer certain drugs
that could help the heart.
And, of course, any time that you’re close to a patient
and performing a procedure,
it can be a risk for the health care providers.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
The doctors, the nurses, the staff members —
they’re trying not to let it get them down,
trying to focus on the task at hand.
Obviously, this is super difficult.
And when they go home at night, a lot of them
describe just grappling with everything that they’re
seeing and experiencing.
But in the moment, they’re keeping each other’s spirits up.
They’re going about the work.
“Yeah, I’ll take care of that one.”
When I would ask the health professionals
who I was speaking with at the hospital
whether they had anything else to say,
whether they had a message for the larger public,
their message has been: Stay home, protect yourself,
reduce your risk, follow the recommendations
so that you minimize the chance that you will get sick.
And that helps them be able to take care of people
who really need that help.

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