By Tim Harfmann
The intensive care unit at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, is at capacity.
Patient beds now line the hallways of the emergency department. Every corridor, every corner and every ward in the hospital are now inundated with those suffering from the virus.
“This is a warzone, a medical warzone,” explained Dr. Arabia Mollette, who works in the emergency room at the hospital. “Every day I come, what I see on a daily basis is pain, despair, suffering and healthcare disparities.”
Through March 29, Brookdale said it had at least 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with nearly 80 awaiting confirmation.
More than 20 people have so far died from the disease.
“We are scared too. We are fighting for your lives and we’re fighting for our own lives too. We’re trying to keep our head above water and not drown,” said Dr. Mollette.
The staff’s facing a rising tide of cases, and are in dire need of supplies and spiritual strength.
“We need prayer, we need support, we need gowns, we need gloves, we need masks,” said Dr. Mollette. “We need more vents, we need more medical space, we need psychosocial support as well. It’s not easy coming in here when you know that’s what you’re getting ready to face.”
Brookdale needs more of everything.
The hospital has 370 beds, but they’d like to add many more, expecting the pandemic to get worse.
“I don’t really sleep that well at night. I worry about my family. I worry about my safety,” Dr. Mollette added. “I worry about my colleagues. I worry about how the shift is going to be the next time I come.”
She says this is a marathon that healthcare workers alone cannot win, or even finish.
“This is why we are begging everyone to not just put that pressure on the emergency department, but also for everyone to help us by staying home,” she urged.
Dr. Mollette says this will take everyone pulling together. The worst days, she fears, are still ahead.