This Hispanic woman worked with the nurse who died of coronavirus: “I never imagined risking my life to save others” | Univision Salud News

Diana Torres has spent almost two weeks living isolated from the rest of her family in the attic of her home in New Jersey and barely able to fall asleep. He says that when he succeeds he has a recurring nightmare: he is at a party and feels that he has to separate the groups of guests, as if he could also do something to stop the coronavirus expansion.

According to Kelly’s sister, Marya Patrice Sherron, the nurse coordinator at the New York hospital had written to her on March 18 to inform her that she was admitted to the intensive care unit because she had tested positive for coronavirus and asked her not to tell their parents so as not to worry them. A few days later he passed away.

Kelly was asthmatic, but both she and Torres, the Colombian nurse, believe that her death could have been prevented with better security measures.

“They didn’t have to put it that way. He would go to the rooms with the PPE (personal protective equipment) that was not enough. He would go in with the nurse to tell her that everything would be fine”, denounces Torres, who coincided in some shifts in the hospital with Kelly.

As he explained in a telephone interview with Univision News, a few weeks ago, when the first cases of coronavirus began to emerge in New York, part of the hospital’s health personnel refused to assist patients suspected of covid-19 without the necessary protection.

The role of coordinators like Kelly, he says, was to assure the rest that everything was under control, even if that meant entering the sick rooms with them without the proper equipment. And that’s how, the nurse denounces, he ended up getting the disease that ended up taking his life: “It is a lack of responsibility. I said to everyone: ‘You have to cover yourself from head to toe. It cannot be that in other countries they are crazy and that is why (the toilets) go so they do not see anything” .

Nurses protected with trash bags

The Colombian nurse works at the Mount Sinai rehabilitation plant in Manhattan. And although it is not in charge of receiving patients with coronavirus, who usually arrive in emergencies and then be transferred to the telemetry unit, the virus is already so widespread in the hospital that it ensures that there are patients who were for other reasons and that they have ended up spreading.

Since the first coronavirus patient arrived, it was complete chaos “, He affirms when he denounces that the medical center has not had a correct answer, nor are they giving the necessary equipment to protect themselves.

Nurses who interact with people suspected of being infected are given a protective gown for the entire shift, she says, when protocols stipulate changing after seeing an infected patient, plus a surgical mask and plastic mask. to protect the face that must be cleaned with bleach at the end of the shift.

She was not the only one to denounce him. The image of a group of nurses from that hospital using garbage bags on top of their uniforms has been widely shared on social networks, especially after learning of Kelly’s death.

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In a communication with Univision News, a spokesman for Mount Sinai West referred to a statement in which the hospital acknowledges the death of one of its employees, ensures that the protection of its patients and workers is the “absolute priority” and It rejects that its personnel do not have the necessary materials to do their work safely.

From the photo of the nurses with the garbage bags, they simply say that underneath them you could see the protective equipment known as PPE.

“This crisis is putting pressure on the resources of all hospitals in the New York area and although we have and have had enough protective equipment, we are going to need more in the coming weeks,” the statement said.

“We are loading the virus”

As proof of this, he says that when he needs protective clothing to care for a patient suspected of coronavirus, he has to beg the managers to give it to him and he points out that only in the telemetry plant are at least a dozen infected nurses and assistants.

“We ourselves are carrying the virus exposing more people. You come to the hospital to help them, not to make them sick,” laments Torres. And he criticizes that, although they have contact with patients diagnosed with covid-19 without adequate protection, medical personnel are not given access to the test unless they present severe symptoms.

A Mount Sinai West hospital spokesperson told Univision News that its center is doing “everything humanly possible to calm fear and protect its staff” and that they are simply following protocols established by the New York Department of Health.

Those guidelines establish that health workers who have been highly exposed to patients with covid-19 must “take extreme precautions to monitor their health, but can continue working” without the need to be 15 days in quarantine.

In the case of Torres, the first time he became aware of having been in contact with an unprotected covid-19 positive patient was on Monday, March 16, when they transferred a man from the telemetry plant who had been in the hospital for two weeks. hospital after having undergone surgery on the spine and which could have been spread at the health center itself.

“When he came down, he started with a fever. The first day, he coughed next to me and I asked him if his throat bothered him and he told me that he felt he had to clear his throat to breathe better. But I was already suspicious because in the other floor was a lot of contaminated and I told the doctor, “recalls the nurse.

The patient underwent the examination and three days later it was confirmed that he had coronavirus. After testing, the patient was isolated, but by then he had already been in contact with workers like Torres who were not wearing adequate protection.

Since she learned of the diagnosis, her family has developed a plan to protect herself: she now lives in the attic of the house, while her husband and their three children, ages 14, 9 and 7, are in another area, also separated from their mother-in-law, from older and isolated from the rest.

“I never imagined that we were going to be so exposed and that we were going to risk our own lives to save someone else”, it states.

It is such a difficult situation that it has made him consider throwing in the towel, but he says that he is not doing it for his companions since it would imply more pressure for the rest at a time when the coronavirus crisis has only just begun: “No you imagine the danger we are all in. And the government only cares about the economy and the money is not going to reach them to bury us all if we continue like this. “

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