Packed waiting lobbies with contagious patients. People waiting for long hours on end to see a doctor. Others suffering on stretchers waiting for days for a bed. Medical workers desperately trying to find additional ventilators.
That is just part of the nightmare that is currently facing a New York hospital with 545 beds, as per Dr. Rikki Lane, a doctor at the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens.
“Our hospital has never, ever, ever seen anything like this,” revealed Lane, who has been working at Elmhurst for more than 20 years.
The doctor noted that the emergency department has been “overwhelmed” for around 3 weeks and the hospital is in a critical situation as the killer virus infects more and more people in the city.
There have been more than 21,000 coronavirus cases we know of so far and 281 losses of life.
Elmhurst Center has been expanding the area within the facility that is being used for the care of COVID-19 patients, but the never-ending influx of new patients has been overwhelming.
“Whatever space we create is immediately filled and overfilled,” she said.
Lane said that the hospital is in desperate need of any supplies they can get, including ventilators, and other gear.
“The need grows exponentially every single day,” she pleaded.
In what has been described as the hospital’s most horrific day so far, the coronavirus has taken the lives of 13 people in one day.
“All of this is unheard of,” she said.
She fears that New York could soon reach Italy’s crisis level, where, in a short time, coronavirus cases rose to 75,000 and more people have died than even in China, where it all started.
“I know actual true horrors are coming,” she said.
Another Elmhurst doctor, who wished to remain anonymous told The City:
“The only beds we’ve been able to free up are people who have died.”
Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, said the city may need around 140,000 hospital beds as the virus goes into its peak and asked the federal government for the much-needed supplies.
Cuomo said that hundreds of thousands of supplies were distributed across the state, but they would not be enough.
New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, said the federal government was sending 2000 ventilators, but the city needs 15,000.
Meanwhile, a Brooklyn doctor said there had been severe shortages of masks and swabs.
He noted that medical workers are at a high risk of exposures and she was scared of getting infected and transferring it to her family. The doctor has asked to remain anonymous for fears of retaliation.
“I am scared to hug my own children,” she said.
“We need space and beds. This is a war. I’m going into war and trying not to get killed,” she said. “We are trying to go to work and not to die.”
New York is also adding a new makeshift morgue in preparation for the worst.
“I know the morgues push a really strong emotional button, obviously. We’re all humans,” de Blasio said. “It’s a very troubling thing to see, and it makes it very immediate, very visceral. It’s going to be very, very painful.”
Anthony Almojera, the vice president of the New York City Fire Department’s EMS officers union, said they have been getting a staggering number of calls.
“Last night we saw over 6,500 calls, the night before 6,400”
“The last week and a half we’ve been at 5,000 or more every day. That’s more than 9/11. In the last two days, we’ve set records,” he noted.
Recently, a number of doctors and nurses from other hospitals went to help Elmhurst.
In addition, the hospital received more ventilators to help the critically ill with their breathing, as per City Councilmember Francisco Moya.
“It’s very accurate to say it’s overrun. I’ve spoken to workers at the hospital and you can hear it in their voice — it’s a sign of desperation that they need help,” he told THE CITY.
Christopher Miller, an NYC Health + Hospitals spokesman told THE CITY:
“Elmhurst is at the center of this crisis, and it’s the number one priority of our public hospital system right now.”
NYC Health + Hospitals, New York’s public hospital system, told NBC News it was “working day and night to ensure that all our patients receive the care they need.”
They said the hospital system had “adequate supplies at the moment but are fully cognizant of the nationwide scarcity of resources” as well as “reports of lack of personal protective equipment and ventilators in our system are false.”
“The public health system is working with all local, state and federal agencies to ensure that resources are strategically allocated throughout to accommodate the surge caused by COVID-19,” they said. “We are committed to our mission to care for all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status and ability to pay, and are focused on keeping all our patients and staff safe.”
In the video below you can see emergency room doctor Coleen Smith at Elmhurst giving a rare look inside the hospital.
As you can see, the situation is truly horrifying.
What are your thoughts on the way the world is handling the coronavirus crisis? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article to spread awareness to people who may not be taking the situation seriously enough. Stay safe!