Resident in Surgery, Mt Sinai South Nassau Hospital
On March 22nd I called my parents and told them that after much thought and introspection I had volunteered to help run the surgical Covid ICU. It was the strength and emunah instilled in me by my parents as well as knowing that this is why I chose my given profession that helped me make this choice. What was supposed to be a 2 week assignment became 6 of the hardest and most taxing weeks of my career and life. At the height of the pandemic, we had 525 patients and 80 intubated. We oversaw anywhere from 10-20 critical Covid patients daily, our small team of 2 attendings and 4 residents. We were on a 4-day rotation meaning 1 attending and 2 residents covering these patients on any given day and every 4th day I was on a 24-hour shift. Waking up each day and going to work was no longer something we took for granted because each day we woke up was another chance to try and save a life. During those 6 weeks, we did everything in our power to keep families connected. Staying late and coming early to help facetime families on our personal time. My colleagues in all departments left their comfort zones to work in the frontlines in tasks sometimes out of their purview. Surgical techs were acting as unit clerks and taskers. OR nurses were doubling as critical care nurses. Not once did anyone complain. I have never been more honored or proud to work with such an amazing group of people.
The strength to keep going each day came from my family, friends, colleagues and community. I woke up each morning to a text from my father telling me to have a great day. My mother would call me on my drive home daily to help me decompress and process. I facetimed daily with my brother and parents. My friends from childhood sent me care packages and checked in almost daily to see how I was coping. My incredible colleagues as I mentioned, no words can describe their strength and dedication and seeing them all gave me the strength to fight another day. The incredible Long Island Jewish communities arranged for us to be fed daily, sending cards and drawings, truly making us feel at home despite being far from my own. It is this sense of community I found at Ida Crown.