After two full weeks in New York City, Chrissy Chapman is ready to share with the local communities what it’s been like for her on the front lines, as well as what’s going on in her third week.
She mentioned that each day, usually around shift change for healthcare workers, the City of New York erupts. “People out on balconies, banging pots and pans. Horns blowing sirens from fire trucks and police cars, all for the healthcare providers…as they leave the hospital…you can hear them all honking their horns. It’s extremely emotional, and to say our emotions are raw at this point is an understatement.”
After Chrissy began working regular shifts at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in the recently expanded adult intensive care unit, she admitted that she had been skeptical of how serious the novel coronavirus situation really was. Until, that is, she began caring for her patients.
According to her and her co-worker, Kelsie Ann Parrett, the hospital has converted at least seven additional units within the hospital into COVID ICUs. Chrissy said, “every available space in the hospital is made into a makeshift ICU,” to include recovery units, interventional radiology units and catheterization laboratories (examination rooms in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment). “The front main lobby is half made into an extension of the emergency room.”
When discussing her daily workload, she discussed how so many of the patients were intubated, how many coded every day; “it’s definitely different than I imagined.” She believed she was prepared for the medical care; she believed she was prepared for the physical and mental stress of what being on the front line would be like. She is stressed. She is scared.
On April 3, Chrissy told her husband Greg, “there are about 100 intubated patients at the hospital here. One coded and died today. They say we may have to take 4-5 each. People need to really know this. It's not a…joke.” Greg shared this via Facebook, and encouraged readers to “keep the health care workers in your prayers.”
Chrissy has been continuously asking for prayers for her, her fellow healthcare workers and of course, the patients. “God is still in control and I firmly believe he will keep me protected as I give my all to help save some lives the best I know how.”
On Monday, she said, “one of my three patients died first thing this morning,” and an hour later she mentioned her second patient was also deteriorating. It’s hard for her to discuss her personal feelings on the situation. She tried to explain how it really is there.
Allowing her anger to shine, she bluntly said, “let me tell you how it’s going to go down. If you take [someone] to the ER, you will drop them off at the door, not knowing if they will walk back out.”
Taking her point further, she said, “you are not allowed in the hospital. There is a strict no visitation as well. Families are allowed to call once a day. Yes, I said once.”
While that may not be the case locally at this moment in time, that could change if more positive cases were identified in our local communities. Chrissy wanted the reality of the situation to sink in, because she’s aware that locally, the realness of the threat has not manifested. She admitted she fell into that category before leaving Grayville.
As she continued discussing what happens next at the Jewish Medical Center, she said, “if by chance things don’t go well like they did for me [Monday] with one of my three intubated sick patients…guess what people? Your family member dies alone. Let that sink in. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if it was one of my family or friends. That is the most horrible way to go. We are not always able to be at the beside holding your loved ones hand as they pass over.”
“For my healthcare provider friends, this is even more than we are used to seeing, even with our sickest patients. If I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes, I promise you, I wouldn’t believe it. This not going to go away.”
For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.