Florida nurse trapped in coronavirus trauma found dead | US news

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A nurse who volunteered to specifically treat patients with coronavirus was found dead amid reports that he found it difficult to cope with fear, trauma and isolation from being on the front line of the pandemic.

The family of William Coddington, 32, of South Florida, is trying to determine if this is the last case of a healthcare worker committing suicide during the pandemic.

Coddington’s mother Carolyn tracked William’s phone to find that he wasn’t at the hospital where he worked in West Palm Beach. He was later found in the parking lot of a nearby hotel, possibly having died from an overdose.

Broward County health and law enforcement officials told the Reuters news agency that the death of Coddington is under investigation.

His parents confirmed that Coddington had battled opioid dependence since the early 20s and was struggling with restrictions related to social distancing, while his relatives also said he was committed to his continued recovery from substance addiction.

His mother said he thought the sobriety meetings held were hardly as useful as those held in person under normal circumstances.

“He couldn’t meet his godfather,” she said, “his friends … no one wanted to see him because he worked in a hospital, not even to sit 6 feet away from one of them.” other. “

However, text messages and screenshots from the final weeks of his life have also revealed Coddington’s growing fear and trauma in the face of the health crisis. Colleagues and friends confirmed that he was stressed and worried about insufficient protection.

“In my hospital, we ration an N95 mask for my entire shift,” Coddington previously wrote. “We lack dresses. We ask people to make makeshift face shields that end up breaking. “

Ronald Coddington, his father, recalled that a few days before his death, his son had told him that his face shield had fallen during a patient’s intubation.

“He literally felt things splash on his face,” he said.

Coddington became a nurse in 2018, and when Covid-19 patients began arriving at the north campus of the JFK medical center where he worked, he volunteered for the coronavirus unit.

He did it because he was younger than some of his colleagues, and therefore potentially less likely to become seriously ill, and because he was not a parent, he told a friend, according to a report from Reuters.

On Wednesday, hundreds of friends and family from Coddington came to a virtual funeral.

Close friend Robert Marks said he was “100%” sure that Coddington did not intend to kill himself and that it may have been “an effort to relieve himself” the stress of working on the front lines of the crisis, which then went terribly wrong. false.

Last month, Lorna Breen, one of the best emergency physicians at New York’s Presbyterian-Allen Hospital, committed suicide after battling the virus as a professional and former patient.

Her family said she was overwhelmed with work. Psychiatrists have recognized that healthcare workers, particularly those who have previously used drugs, may find it difficult to cope with fear, isolation and witnessing massive deaths during the pandemic.

A hospital spokeswoman for HCA Healthcare, the network representing the JFK Medical Center, where Coddington worked, declined to comment on the hospital’s working conditions, but extended condolences to the family.

Coddington wrote that he did not blame the hospital because shortages are widespread. The spokesman said he had “an adequate supply of PPE” and that he was “taking steps to keep it.”

According to the state health department, Palm Beach County is third behind Miami-Dade and Broward for confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida.

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