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Coronavirus: New York nurse cries uncontrollably as she describes finding dead patients

'I'm tired of calling families and telling them that news'

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 10 April 2020 22:20
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An intensive care nurse in New York's emergency field hospital broke down and cried uncontrollably describing the scale of the coronavirus tragedy.

In a video posted to Facebook this week, 35-year-old ER nurse D'neil Schmall described her experience caring for Covid-19 patients in a Central Park hospital set up to treat victims of the pandemic.

"I just feel there is so much anyone can take," Ms Neil said in the video, which was filmed after she lay on her hotel room floor and cried for an hour following the "worst shift" she's had in the past two weeks.

"I'm tired of walking into rooms, and your patients are dead. You just walk into a room, and there's a dead body there. I'm tired of calling families and telling them that news," she said in the video.

"I cried the whole way home, I mean the driver was like, 'Ma'am are you okay?' I don't think people understand how stressful this job is. I was trained for anything in the world but this is so stressful."

The former bodybuilder, who moved to New York on 30 March to help fight the virus, said in the video caption that it's important for people to see what frontline nurses go through after walking eight to 11 miles in a 13 to 15-hour shift, five to six days a week, on only four to five hours of sleep.

"If you have ever felt any time would be appropriate to have compassion for each other, right now is the time when we should all have compassion for each other, and try to at least acknowledge what the other person is going through. I just have so much sadness," she said.

"I have friends that are nurses and I'm pretty sure that they understand but they are going through the same thing," she said. "So the end result is you end up crying in your hotel room. Or in the bathroom. There is no one to talk to."

In the video, Ms Schmall also described working conditions when wearing plastic personal protective equipment that was like a "sweatsuit" while treating 10 to 16 patients per nurse, per day.

"Some of them, bless their souls, can't do anything for themselves," she said. "How can I take care of 14 people when I have one tech and they have 30 patients. It's so bad here you guys."

Underneath the video, Ms Schmall posted: "This video was cathartic. I only posted it because I feel like people should know what we’re going through here. I love my job I LOVE ❤️ what I do! UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES AM I LEAVING!"

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