HOUSTON - While the Coronavirus pandemic continues, many workers on the front line haven’t taken a day off in more than 100 days.
“It’s pure adrenaline,” said Christina Mathers, a nurse at United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC). “We run on adrenaline and caffeine.”
Inside the COVID-19 unit at UMMC, staff members recently had to add new hospital beds for Coronavirus patients. So far, they’ve successfully treated dozens of people with COVID-19. The hospital has gained national attention for its success.
“We’re all exhausted,” said UMMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Varon. “Everybody is tired.”
Treating COVID-19 patients is a tough task. Every medical worker is required to wear multiple layers of protective equipment. Every time they leave the COVID unit, workers must remove their outer shell and replace it before re-entering.
“This is the most I’ve ever sweated,” said Mathers. “Even when I worked out, I didn’t sweat this much.”
The protective equipment promotes a safer working environment, but it’s also time-consuming. According to Dr. Varon, they go through about 8-10 layers of protective gear per-person every day.
“It’s a lot of PPE,” said Dr. Varon. “We’ve got to make sure that nobody gets sick.”
As a result of possible exposure, many medical workers have their own safety measures in place.
“I shower here,” said Mathers. “I have my own protocol. Then, I shower again at home.”
“I haven’t seen my family or kids in about 2 months,” said Candace Trammel, an ICU nurse at UMMC. “They support me in everything I’m doing. Of course, I miss them, but it’s necessary.”
Medical teams trying to stay healthy, and sacrificing time with family, while treating Coronavirus patients in urgent need.
“I feel like if people want their Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to be somewhat normal, then they need to act now,” said Mathers. “They should have acted yesterday.”