‘People Are Dying’: Battling Coronavirus Inside a N.Y.C. Hospital | NYT News

All the patients in this room, all the feet that you see, they all have Covid.


The frustrating thing about all of this is it really just feels like it’s too little, too late. Like we knew – we knew it was coming.


[Dr. Colleen Smith gave us a rare insider’s view of an overstretched E.R. in New York City, the epicenter of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak.]

Today is kind of getting worse and worse.


We had to get a refrigerated truck to store the bodies of patients who are dying.


We are right now, scrambling to try to get a few additional ventilators or even CPAP machines.


If we could get CPAP machines, we could free up ventilators for patients who need them.


[Elmhurst received a shipment of ventilators from another hospital a few hours later. Dr. Smith said it was the third emergency re-supply in a week. ]


Five. Five ventilators. Oh my God.


[The head of N.Y.C. Public hospitals denied that Elmhurst have ever come close to running out ventilators. A statement to the Times said they ”continue surging up supplies and personnel ” to Elmhurst , Which is ” The number one priority of our hospital system ” ]


You know, we now have these five vens. We probably – unless people die, I suspect we’ll be back to needing to beg for ventilators again in another day or two.


There’s a mythical 100 vents out there which we haven’t seen.


[Hospital and state officials say dwindling supplies will be become a major problem but hospitals are keeping up for now. Dr. Smith says the shortages are already here for workers on the front line.]


Leaders in various offices, from the president to the head of health and hospitals, saying things like, We’re going to be fine. Everything’s fine. And from our perspective, everything is not fine. I don’t have the support that I need, and even just the materials that I need, physically, to take care of my patients.



And it’s America, and we’re supposed to be a first – world country.


On a regular day, my emergency department’s volume is pretty high. It’s about 200 people a day.Now we’re seeing 400 or more people a day.


At first, we were trying to isolate patients with cough and fever and be more careful around them, but we weren’t necessarily being extra careful around all the other patients.


And then we started to realize that patients who are coming in with no fever but abdominal pain, actually had findings on their X – rays and chest CTs that were consistent with this Coronavirus, Covid-19.


So someone in a car accident gets brought in and we get a CT scan of them, and their lungs looks like they have coeonavirus.


We were seeing a lot of patients who probably had covid but we didn’t realize.


Ten residents and also many many of our nurses and a few of the attending physicians got sick.


The anxiety of this situation is really overwhelming.


All of the doctors, it’s hard for us to get tested even if we want to, even if we have symptoms.


We’re exposed over and over again.


We don’t have the protective equipment that we should have.


I put N95 mask in the morning. I need have that N95 mask on for every patient I see. I don’t take it off all day.


The N95 mask I wore today is also the N95 mask I wore on Friday. We’re always worried that we’ll be out of N95 masks.


[Dr. Smith says the hospital is adapting as first as it can, and it set up tent outside to test mildly sick patients. But these fixes haven’t minimized the pressure. ]

[スミス医師によると、病院は出来る限り早く適応しており、軽傷患者のための検査用のテントを設置しました。 しかし、それによってこの圧力が少なくなることはありません。 ]

What’s a little bit scary now is the patients that we’re getting are much sicker.


Many of the young people who are getting sick don’t smoke, they’re healthy, they have no co-morbidities.


They’re just young, regular people between ages of 30-50 who you would not expect to get this sick.


[FEMA expected to bring more supplies but Dr. Smith says there have been a lot of promises that have yet to materialize in the E.R.]


So many people are saying it’s going to be OK, everything’s fine, we have what we need.


And if this goes on for a month or two or three or five like did in China, and we ‘re already this strained, we don’t have what we need.


I don’t really care if I get in trouble for speaking to the media. I want people to know that this is bad.


People are dying. We don’t have the tools that we need in the emergency department and in the hospital to take care of them, and it’s really hard.