FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Healthcare workers across the nation have have referred to hospitals as war zones during the coronavirus pandemic, which has drawn on to a year-long crisis in the United States.
Stories shared from the front lines of battling COVID-19 are heartbreaking and unforgettable.
WANE 15’s Kaitor Kay spoke with three workers from Parkview Hospital Randallia who know all too well what it means to be up close and personal with the virus: Medical Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit Dr. Sharon David, Medical Surgical Unit Nurse Keith Enterline, and Concierge of Discharge Hospitality Lounge Victoria Jackson.
Kaitor Kay: As front line workers, what have you all seen that most people haven’t?
Victoria Jackson: What I see with people like our nurses and our doctors is they are tired. They are tired, but I promise you they they’re like workhorses. They keep going. They keep fighting, because they want to not only help people, but just just save a life if they can.
Dr. Sharon David: You know, sometimes I look at the virus as a very unfair virus. ‘Sorry, you need a feeding tube.’ ‘Sorry, you need a tracheostomy tube now.’ ‘Yeah, you were walking before but we’re sending you home in a wheelchair because your lungs just can’t support that activity.’ It just seems unfair sometimes, where you have people who’ve been adhering to the social distancing, and the masking and can still get it.
Jackson: People can’t see their family members and that’s very emotional. It was a lot. Someone came in to see their parents and they weren’t allowed to see their parents. They got emotional. They were crying. And I’m trying to comfort them. We got them calmed and the situation calmed, but it was just really an eye opener because they were pressed to see their parent who they haven’t seen in weeks.
David: You hear about the no visitor policies in the different hospitals. They’re difficult, and it’s all part of this battle that we’re going through, but it’s so incredibly needed to keep us all safe.
Kay: Can you share a couple stories from the front line that have hit you hardest, ones that you’ll never forget?
Keith Enterline: I was there when the doctor delivered the news that the patient’s wife had passed. She was on another floor. She had COVID. It was hard for me to choke back the tears when he looked up at the doctor and said I’d been with her for 62 years. That was hard.
Kay: Any silver linings in the past year?
Enterline: I took a male patient down, an elderly gentleman, to the entrance there on Carew Street. And this young woman grabbed me and hugged me and she said, ‘you gave my grandfather back to me!’ That certainly was not practicing social distancing, but it was gratifying. And it was good to see grandfather walk out on his own two legs.
Jackson: Because when they beat it, it’s major. Its major when they beat it. They’re excited. Well, one, they’re excited to go. They’re excited to go home, but you see the family members come pick them up and they jump out of the car and say, ‘thank you so much.’ That’s rewarding. That’s rewarding.
Kay: Now that the vaccine is out, people are feeling hope. What is your outlook for 2021 now that the vaccine is rolling out?
David: It’s giving me a little bit of a glimpse of that light at the end of the tunnel where life will maybe get back to a new normal, but somewhat more normal. So it’s been very encouraging.