Hospital Hell is for Heroes

March 26, 2020 at 3:40 pm (By Amba) (, )

This is from Teresa Hanafin’s Boston Globe newsletter “Fast Forward.”

From the Globe:

At Massachusetts General Hospital, 41 members of the staff have tested positive for COVID-19, as have 45 employees at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At Tufts Medical Center, 31 workers have the virus, and at Boston Medical Center, 15 have tested positive.

Yesterday, an internal medicine resident at Columbia named Meredith Case wrote on Twitter:

I feel I must tweet because the press does not reflect our reality. The deluge is here. Our ICU is completely full with intubated COVID patients. We are rapidly moving to expand capacity. We are nearly out of PPE. I anticipate we will begin rationing today.

Today was the worst day anyone has ever seen, but tomorrow will be worse. We are on the precipice of rationing. Needless to say, these decisions run counter to everything we stand for and are incredibly painful.

Staffing these beds requires incredible resources. Hard to say which will run out first — staffing, physical beds, ventilators, or other life support devices, e.g. CRRT machines to run continuous dialysis for the many patients developing renal failure.

Tough day. Floor beds were converted to ICU beds on the fly as a cascade of patients in the ED and on the floor required emergent intubation. Inspiring to watch RN, NP/PA and MD administration come together to find a way to care for these patients.

The number of cases in Louisiana is surging. Michigan hospitals are reaching capacity. Infections in the US are rapidly approaching 70,000, and the number of deaths raced past 1,000 overnight. New Jersey, population 9 million, has the second-highest number of cases in the country — 4,400 — likely because of its adjacency and connections to New York, where cases now have surpassed 33,000.

It’s getting bad out there, folks, especially for our health care workers — not just those in the hospitals, nursing homes, an other care facilities, but also the EMTs, paramedics, police, firefighters, home health aides … They all are risking their health and their lives, working frantically to keep the rest of us safe.

Because that is what they do.

Don’t talk to me about athletes or entertainers being heroes because they toss around a football with a sick kid. That’s really nice, and very kind, but it’s not heroic. I know a hero when I see one, and she’s wearing a surgical mask.


  1. Heidi Menocal said,

    Oh no. May I share this. I still know people who say this is nothing. We are overreacting.

  2. amba12 said,

    Of course you can share it. I already stole it. Figured the author wouldn’t mind, since I credited her. But I would suggest also sharing the less scary story I posted this morning. It is very chancy and unpredictable who gets very sick and who doesn’t. We have no idea who will or why. That’s why it has to be taken seriously. But neither should people assume the worst for themselves to the point of being paralyzed with terror. Be careful and attentive and take it one day at a time.

  3. Heidi Menocal said,

    Thank you. Good idea about posting both stories.

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