ER employees saves lives, suffers in scorching spot

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — A nurse furiously pushes down on a person’s chest as 5 different employees in full protecting gear encompass the affected person’s mattress.

Instantly, one throws up his arms and steps backward.


“OK, transfer! All people transfer!” are the directions.

Moments after they again away, the affected person’s coronary heart is shocked, his arm spasms and he shakes on the mattress. Quickly after, he’s positioned on a ventilator. He has been saved — for now.

Many extra at Saint Joseph’s Medical Middle haven’t.


“It’s been a nightmare. We have now a quantity of sick individuals like you’ll be able to’t imagine. In a single shift, I pronounced six individuals useless,” stated Dr. Anthony Leno, the hospital’s director of emergency medication, who on common pronounces one useless in a 10-12 hour shift.

The Yonkers hospital, which sits close to the Bronx border and serves one of many poorest sections of Westchester County’s largest metropolis, has been besieged by the brand new coronavirus. Half of the roughly 280 employees members who had been examined for the illness had been optimistic — with one other 25 to 30 nonetheless awaiting outcomes, in accordance with Dean Civitello, the vice chairman for human assets.

The Related Press was granted entry to the ability’s emergency room, which at one level earlier within the pandemic had 28 sufferers ready to be handled and ambulances lined up outdoors with extra, stated Dr. James Neuendorf, Saint Joseph’s medical director.


Employees from different areas of the hospital was redeployed to handle sufferers and extra therapy areas had been set as much as increase the hospital’s 194 acute-care beds.

The changes meant “we had been capable of deal with numerous sufferers — effectively over above our numbers that we usually see every day,” Neuendorf stated.

Greater than 900 have died in Westchester, which had an early outbreak in neighboring New Rochelle in March earlier than Yonkers turned a scorching spot. At Saint Joseph’s, coronavirus-related signs accounted for greater than 85% of all admissions for a interval of practically 4 weeks from March 20 to April 19.


Officers on the hospital knew the pandemic was going to crush them, since COVID-19 has proved particularly punishing for the largely minority inhabitants that makes up a good portion of southwest Yonkers.

One explicit problem is that giant households regularly dwell collectively in small properties, making it tough to isolate sick ones. And, Leno famous, there have been few efficient therapies aside from isolation.

“We’ve had many members of the family and teams, and we’ve even had individuals from the identical household who’ve died inside days of one another,” Leno stated.


The neighborhood was hit so arduous tent was erected outdoors the hospital on March 19 to accommodate the push of individuals searching for to be examined. Within the first few days it was up, 150 to 175 individuals had been examined every day to find out who needs to be examined, in accordance with Catherine Hopkins, Saint Joseph’s director of faculty well being and neighborhood relations.

Even some within the space who could in any other case be reluctant to hunt medical care, fearing the lack of pay or in some instances deportation, confirmed up after seeing the consequences of the coronavirus.

“Persons are afraid,” Hopkins stated. “They’re scared. Their family, their associates are dying.”


For most individuals, the coronavirus causes gentle or reasonable signs that clear up in two to a few weeks. However for some, particularly older adults and folks with present well being issues, it may possibly trigger extra extreme sickness and result in loss of life.

Past the unprecedented medical challenges, the outbreak precipitated monetary hardships for the Catholic hospital that has served Yonkers since 1888. Beds and gear needed to be purchased or rented to fulfill Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate for hospitals to extend their capability, and private protecting gear needed to be bought at a lot larger prices than standard as regular suppliers ran out.

“There’s lots of people gouging on the market. A masks that price 50 cents earlier than are costing $7, $eight every. Robes that may price 50 cents as effectively, are $7 every. Protecting shields that had been $1.25, individuals on the lookout for 25 bucks a pop,” stated Frank Hagan, Saint Joseph’s chief monetary officer. “So, price is a major problem.”


As is the morale of the employees, who concern for their very own well being, are juggling duties when their colleagues are ailing and are bombarded — much more than standard — with loss of life and illness.

“It’s tiring. It’s nerve-racking,” stated chief nursing officer Margaret Cusumano, who has been again about three weeks after she had examined optimistic. “You’re watching individuals be sick. You’re watching individuals succumb to the illness. It weighs on you mentally, bodily.”

Fewer sufferers are coming to Saint Joseph’s now. Although there’s nonetheless a gentle stream of sufferers carrying masks being wheeled into the ER daily, the employees is optimistic that the worst is over. However there may be additionally the concern that folks will rush too rapidly again to their lives — doubtlessly triggering one other flurry of infections.


“They hear we’re over the plateau they usually suppose, ‘OK, it’s enterprise as standard,’” Hopkins stated. “It’s not. It might probably’t be.”