I feel a little guilty.
Some of us are lucky to work at hospitals here in NYC that have enough resources to create an environment where healthcare workers can focus more on patient care and less on worrying about their own safety on a minute-to-minute basis.
I am one of those lucky ones.
I feel supported at work. I feel like we are a well-oiled machine, and even though we are busy and taking care of the sickest patients, it has not yet felt overwhelming because we support one another so much. This support makes the long nights not feel so long. The support allows me to sleep peacefully once I've stripped and showered once I get home. And the support allows me a clarity and peace of mind that allows me to continue to journal throughout this whole ordeal.
But others are not so lucky.
The recent press on Elmhurst Hospital put the spotlight on a number of hospitals in the five boroughs of NYC that are truly suffering through this crisis, with Queens and Brooklyn being by far the hardest hit.
But no part of the city is unaffected. And the number of cases just keeps on increasing. And as those numbers keep increasing, shit just keeps getting more real in the city, even in my home of Manhattan.
Mt. Sinai is expanding hospital space into their lobby (I would share the picture I have but my friend asked me not to). They also are building a 68-bed respiratory-focused field hospital in CENTRAL PARK (I'm not kidding) to treat COVID-19+ patients and help off-load the overflow from the hospitals. Again, I never imagined this could happen here, what is going on... ugh.
As of late this afternoon, for the city of New York, there were 33,747 confirmed cases and 774 deaths 😔. Queens (32%) and Brooklyn (27%) make up the majority of cases in the city. Elmhurst alone had at least 13 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in a 24 HOUR PERIOD. And the number of cases and death toll keeps increasing.
We are still a ways away from our apex. And we need people to all play a role in helping us get through this. And we see examples of it everyday.
Such as our fellow NYers who, each evening at 7pm, clap and cheer outside of their windows for the healthcare workers who continue to care for the many COVID-19 patients, and many other patients, who need us. That shit is so frickin' heart-warming.
Or, as another example, these two amazing women.
Divya and Samantha are both interventional radiologists in an upper Manhattan hospital. During this crisis, they have seen their caseload go down significantly and know eventually they will be reassigned to a unit that is in need of their brilliance, skill, and strong work ethic. But until that occurs, they didn't want to just sit around; they had other plans to give back and support our community.
And our community thanks them.
Divya and Samantha decided to create a GoFundMe account to raise money for food and water for those healthcare workers on the frontlines who are overwhelmed. And over a 6 hour time period this morning stretching to late afternoon, they shopped at CostCo, spent 3+ hours building 100 individual food-water care packages (done 100% hygienically!), packed it all up into their Lyft, picked this dude up (aka ME) because besides a pretty face I also have some mus-cles, and collectively (in our masks!) made our way to the Elmhurst Emergency Department. We were met by two emergency physicians who were very grateful for the donations that would then be distributed to the ED staff and first-responders.
I was fortunate to have the day off to support Divya and Samantha in doing a good deed. It looks like Elmhurst Hospital has received a solid influx of donations since the NY Times video went viral, but many other hospitals continue to have needs that are not met. People, like Divya and Samantha, are answering the call. And many of you are as well.
Thank you. And please keep doing so. Your heartfelt actions are not going unnoticed.