EL PASO — A fire engine’s siren wailed up Cotton Avenue and disappeared behind the El Paso Long Term Acute Care Hospital. A man at the front desk held his hand up to a visitor: “Please wait outside. A Covid-19 patient is being transferred.”
Upstairs on the third floor, in an office outside the COVID-19 wing, nurse Valerie Scott updated a co-worker on the patient being rushed by the fire department to an emergency room. She wore black scrubs and spoke from behind a black surgical mask.
The supplemental oxygen wasn’t helping. The man couldn’t breathe.
“I don’t think he is coming back,” she said, worried.
Nearly 1,000 people have died of COVID-19 in El Paso since March 23 — the day the county reported the first death tied to the novel coronavirus. Grandparents, parents, siblings, and one teenager have died; retired people, working people, and teachers have died. Nurses have died.
The bed belonging to the man who left the El Paso Long Term Acute Care hospital in distress would be occupied again on that November evening. The waitlist for the facility’s 15 dedicated COVID-19 beds had swelled overnight from 22 to 32 patients.
Across the city, more than 1,000 people per day are testing positive and the city’s major hospitals are overrun with severely ill and dying El Pasoans. Hundreds of health care workers have flown to El Paso to pick up shifts from exhausted doctors and nurses and to staff tent hospitals erected in parking lots. The refrigerators of six morgue trailers hummed, keeping the bodies cold.
The El Paso Long Term Acute Care Hospital, physician-owned and licensed for 33 beds, is pitching in as it can.
“They tried to talk to the family,” Scott told her co-worker, who manages the relationship with acute-care hospitals, about the COVID-19 patient transferred out. “Basically, at this point, it would be better to give him comfort measures. … Here there was nothing more we could do.”
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The dedication of front liners to their patients is remarkable. However, sometimes, people forget that they are humans too. They too can feel burnout, stressed, and depressed, and sometimes, their job might involve when they feel down the most. They sometimes may fail to do a follow-up charting to a patient or fail to monitor a particular patient in the required time due to stress and burnout, especially after long hours of a shift.
If you are a Nurse in El Paso who faces any disciplinary issues before the Texas Board of Nursing, please contact El Paso nurse attorney Yong J. An, call or text at 832 428 5679 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. An has represented over 100 nurses before the Texas Board of Nursing since 2006.