San Diego nurse treats COVID-19 patients in New York

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – While many people are hailing the first steps to lifting the stay-at-home orders, there’s no relief for the healthcare providers who are still in the trenches fighting COVID-19.

Tracy Contizano, who works at UC San Diego in La Jolla, has spent the last two and a half weeks at Bellevue Hospital in New York City where she’s treating some of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. Her shifts run 12 to 13 hours and she hasn’t taken a single day off. All of the patients in her unit are on ventilators.

Contizano said when she comes to work in the morning, the first thing she does is to check to see who’s still alive. Of the patients she’s treated, most of them have not survived.

Contizano said she often feels helpless. “You can’t help these patients. Nothing is helping them,” she said.

We asked her how does she keep on going when the outcomes look so bleak? She replied that she hangs onto the hope that perhaps some intervention she performs will turn things around for them. “You hold out all the hope because that’s all you can do,” she said.

Contizano said she’s fearful about what may happen if people don’t stay at home and take other steps to try to protect themselves from infection. “We’re not taking it seriously in San Diego,” she said.

Contizano said people who don’t understand the reasons to wear a mask or to stay at home should take a tour of her unit at Bellevue Hospital. ”Well, they can come and see twenty- and thirty-year-olds with no co-morbidities who are on ventilators and they probably won’t make it,” she said.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News