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A Story from the Front Line of COVID-19

May 11, 2020 | Travel Nursing

LRS Healthcare medical travelers all across the U.S. are caring for COVID-19 patients, protecting their coworkers and working tirelessly to keep everyone safe. Some of our team members are working in COVID-19 units and some are maintaining other departments, but all are directly impacted by this pandemic.

The strength our medical travelers show through the hardship they experience every day is incredible. You’re the heart of the LRS family. Your stories from the front lines of COVID-19 deserve to be told—heartbreak, hope and all.

Zee Khan’s COVID-19 Phlebotomist Story

Zee Khan, shared what COVID-19 looks like through her eyes:

“When the pandemic started, ambulance stretchers lined down the block of our hospital and our waiting room was jam-packed with patients coughing COVID-19 onto each other. Now, there’s basically no room to take any more patients.

“It felt like I was standing on the shore looking at a tsunami. It’s now my second month as a traveler in a COVID unit and honestly, I was not OK. Typically I can handle almost everything. I’m not usually vulnerable or scared like this—definitely not on the internet—but I need to share my experience, particularly my past few days.

“My masks were stolen from the hospital. Due to a lack of masks, I had to reuse my PPE, my gown, and my N95. Cross-contamination occurs when an N95 mask is reused from patient to patient. During my 8-16 hour shift I had to wear two masks. In addition to not sleeping enough, I kept receiving calls from staff informing me that they were ill. Putting myself in the room of a COVID-19 patient was scary for me, but I had to do it. This was an opportunity for me to help save lives. Therefore, I did what I had to do with less protection.”

COVID-19 Heartbreaking Patient Story

“I had this one particular COVID-19 patient: He was very polite and always very talkative. We would have our daily chat as I drew his morning labs. One morning, his wife and daughter were standing outside his window and waiting for him to wake up. They couldn’t go in the room to see him, but they would write notes back and forth and FaceTime.”

“As I was leaving his room that day, he started crying. Upon asking if he was crying because he was in pain, he responded, ‘No, but I am afraid.’ My family and I are concerned that I will not make it and will not be able to see my little girl. COVID will keep me away from my family.

“At this point, he had me in tears too. But I said, ‘No, we’re going to do our best to help you. We have to stay strong. We can do this together.”

“He asked me to stay and say a prayer with him. After we prayed together, he felt more calm, but I could tell he was still worried. A couple of hours later, I heard a page going off in his room and my heart just sank. I didn’t want to go in, but I had to respond to his code. As I went into his room, I prayed and prayed.”

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“Within a few more hours, he went into respiratory arrest—no breathing. Fifteen other healthcare workers and I were in his room doing everything in our power to save him: CPR, intubation, defibrillation. Doctors were on the phone letting his wife know that he may not  make it, but we were doing our best. Then, we had no pulse on him.”

“Over the course of a few hours, this man wasn’t supposed to die. Especially not alone. Only healthcare workers were allowed near him. FaceTiming his family was very painful.”

“Observing families isolated from their sick loved ones is the most difficult part of COVID-19. While I don’t think I’m expressing myself well, I pray to God that this will never happen again.”

“Understand that patients are not animals and healthcare workers are not robots. If you are blessed enough to be able to self-quarantine, PLEASE DO. I can only speak for myself, but this isn’t supposed to be happening—not to the patients or the healthcare workers.”

“These patients are not just a number on TV, rather they’re real people who just want to see their families. Please give your medical professionals some grace as we figure this out. We all have unique roles to play, and we are confident that together we can be successful—and we won’t rest until we are.”

“Stay home and stay safe.”

The days are long, exhausting and heartbreaking for so many medical professionals right now, but we have each other and we have hope.

Thank you, LRS family. And thank you, Zee, for sharing your story with honesty and care. We are so proud of everything you all do.