Health worker says coronavirus PPE shortage forced her to staple N95 mask together: ‘It cut my face off’

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When respiratory therapist Julie Sullivan, 46, left her home state of Texas this spring to help the besieged NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, at the height of the coronavirus crisis in New York City, she was told to make your N95 mask last for seven days. .

“Mine broke on day three,” she told Fox News in a recent interview. “I had to staple the strap; he cut my face off where the staple was used.

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She used the mask for days until she could request another one, as N95s are normally intended for single use.

“I just tried not to think about it. I had confidence that I was where I needed to be, and I was doing what I needed to be doing and I was trying to keep the faith that I would be protected, ”said Sullivan, who is also spokesperson for Allergy & Network. Asthma.

“Somehow, none of us got sick,” Sullivan said of travel nurses and respiratory therapists. “I can only say by the grace of God that we have been protected.”

Julie Sullivan said staff should use the contaminated circuits on new patients. (Photo credit: Julie Sullivan)

Respiratory therapists specialize in breathing difficulties and lung problems, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These health workers listen to patients’ lungs, suggest treatment, help ventilate them (if necessary), and monitor oxygen levels, among other tasks.

In addition to the shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, Sullivan also said the Brooklyn hospital does not have enough circuitry for ventilators, the tubing that connects the patient to the ventilator. Sullivan said staff must use contaminated circuitry on new patients.

“They all had COVID-19 anyway. It was either that or they were going to die, ”she said.

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Many have applauded the efforts of nurses and doctors for their hard work amid the coronavirus pandemic, but respiratory therapists should not be left behind, as they too have experienced the horrors of the COVID-19 crisis firsthand. .

On Sullivan’s first shift, four patients were coded within hours, she recalls. Younger respiratory therapists with minimal experience often got emotional during their shifts, she said, while others coming from home care facilities had never worked in an intensive care unit and did not know the fans.

Many have applauded the efforts of nurses and doctors for their hard work amid the coronavirus pandemic, but respiratory therapists should not be left behind, as they too have experienced the horrors of the COVID-19 crisis firsthand. . (Photo credit: Julie Sullivan)

While in the hospital overflowing and rushing to treat patients, Sullivan said there is rarely enough time to delve into patient records and find the names of family members.

” The [number] patients who were dying those horrible deaths and they were dying with strangers in the room. We didn’t know them, they didn’t know us, ”she said. if they had any family who knew them, honestly.

At one point, as she spoke with Fox News, Sullivan burst into tears as she recalled how she sang “You Are My Sunshine” at the bedside. She used to sing the song to her children, two of whom she still haven’t seen in person for months.

One of the highlights of her time in New York was meeting other nurses in Central Park, she said. Healthcare workers exchanged stories, sharing their experiences of treating patients during this unprecedented time.

“We became very close, we bonded,” she said.

Julie Sullivan stops for a photo in Times Square.  (Photo credit: Julie Sullivan)

Julie Sullivan stops for a photo in Times Square. (Photo credit: Julie Sullivan)

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