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'We’re humans too’: Coronavirus ICU nurse breaks down in tears

Looks can be deceiving.

Case in point: D'neil Schmall.

The former bodybuilder nurse, 35, is tough. She works as an emergency room intensive care unit nurse who voluntarily moved to New York to provide assistance during the coronavirus pandemic which has exploded in the iconic city.

After moving to New York on March 30 to help fight the virus outbreak, Ms Schmall later broke down in tears in her hotel room at the end of a long shift because of all the death she was experiencing on the coronavirus frontline.

In an emotional video she shared, the ICU nurse said she had nobody to talk to one evening after working since 6am and struggling to cope after witnessing so much death.

“I am an ER ICU nurse currently in New York working a rapid response for COVID and, today was a very rough day, a real rough day,” she says in the clip.

“I just feel there is only so much anyone can take. I'm tired of walking into rooms, and your patients are dead. You just walk into a room, and there's a dead body there.

“I'm tired of calling families and telling them that news. I feel so much sadness to my fellow nurses, sisters and brothers, that have lost their lives taking care of people.”

The ICU nurse bared her soul after 'the worst shift of her life'. Source: CEN/Australscope
The ICU nurse bared her soul after 'the worst shift of her life'. Source: CEN/Australscope

Many healthcare workers, even in their home town, have chosen to self isolate away from their families due to the high risk of infection from working in hospitals.

Ms Schmall said the driver who takes her back to the hotel room where she is staying while working in New York provides a rare chance to confide in someone.

“I cried the whole way home, I mean the driver was like are you okay? I don't think people understand how stressful this job is. I was trained for anything in the world but this is so stressful.

“Everyone is trying hard, everyone is trying so hard. But we got so much to do. We are humans too.”

While doctors and nurses are risking coronavirus infection, medical authorities in hard hit cities are also increasingly worried about the mental strain the pandemic is having on healthcare workers.

“I feel like I have no one to talk to. I can't call my mum because should be worried about me, she never wanted me to come here. I can't call my sister because I don't want to stress them out. I have friends that are nurses and I'm pretty sure that they understand but they are going through the same thing. So the end result is you end up crying in your hotel room. Or in the bathroom. There is no one to talk to,” Ms Schmall lamented.

The eight minute video that was posted on April 7 and detailed her daily work in “Central Tent-City Hospital” and was soon flooded with people offering messages of support.

Posting a caption to the video she said: “After 4-5hrs sleep, We’re walking 8-11 miles in a 13-15hrs shift. 5–7 days a week. Only 2 water breaks. The Majority of our PPE is made out of plastic-like wearing a sweat suit all day. Assignments of 10-16 patients per nurse.”

The ICU nurse said posting the video online was cathartic and thanked people for their well wishes. In the message, she implored everyone to be kind to each other.

“If you have ever felt any time would be appropriate to have compassion for each other, right now is the time when we should all have compassion for each other, and try to at least acknowledge what the other person is going through. I just have so much sadness,” she said.

As of Saturday morning, AEST, the US had nearly half a million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.

Meanwhile New York had registered 5,820 coronavirus deaths.

- Australscope

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