Nurse Megan Watkins Details her experiences in New York
Nurse Megan Watkins relays her Covid-19 NYC experience.
So just to preface, I don’t believe in the criminal allopathic industry at all. It’s toxic, always has been, and it’s brainwashed an entire world of people into thinking that chemicals, surgery and toxic drugs are better than herbs and other holistic modalities that will never harm or kill you like the drugs and surgeries will.
And you know that’s the truth otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to hide this from you and they’ve been hiding it from you for years.
They never teach you how to stay healthy to begin with, like learning what to eat and learning just common sense things like you drink clean water that’s alive, you eat clean healthy food that was once alive.
You don’t breath in toxic pollution both in your home or outside your home.
You get fresh air and sun and walk around.
You work on your emotional issues and try to be as stress-free as possible.
ALL the things that the evils have convinced you doesn’t matter is exactly WHY they matter. And just because they don’t tell you it doesn’t matter doesn’t mean they aren’t telling you this by not bring it to your attention.
Meaning, a lie is also when someone avoids telling you the truth, it’s NOT just when someone overtly tells you that something isn’t true.
And of course they don’t want you to know this because then you would question WHY our food is fake and toxic, so is our water, air and the soil where all plants are grown. And who is responsible for all of this?
Why have they been allowed to do this to us for so many years?
Also, if you’ve read my other articles, you know I don’t believe that covid-19 is real.
I believe other things are making people sick including they are making themselves sick because they believe the con. And as you can see below, she explains how so many died due to what happened at the hospital, NOT due to covid-19.
That’s why I’m posting this.
Now onto what Nurse Megan Watkins said in her facebook post on her profile. I haven’t edited any of it, not even if there were spelling or grammatical errors.
“I am an emergency department registered nurse in Northern California. When Covid-19 broke out, my hospital and city quickly went to action to get supplies and units ready for an increase of patients with this new virus. It was such an unknown. Policies changed daily about what PPE we were to wear, where the patients were going to be in the ER, who we tested or did not test, how to treat the patients, etc. When the stay-at-home orders in California went into effect March 13, we saw a sharp decrease in patient census. This provided us to prepare and focus our efforts into our technique of caring for Covid patients. And then we sat and waited…and waited…waited for Covid patients to flock in. But it did not happen. Even our “frequent flyer” patients were too scared to come in. And soon my hospital had to send staff home because there were hardly any patients in the hospitals. Whole units closed down. I was anxious and eager to do my part in all this, but I was sitting in an empty ER day after day.
This is when I signed up with Krucial Staffing agency to go to NYC to help my fellow nurses in the fight against covid-19. I was told I would be working 21 12-hour days straight and would have the opportunity to extend for another 21 days after that if I wanted.
I was given 48 hours to get from California to New York. Those 2 days I scrambled to get supplies together. I did not process what I was getting myself into until I got to the empty airport and I was able to walk through the front door, check my bags in, get through security, and sit at my gate in less than 10 minutes. Three people were waiting at my gate to board the flight to NYC.
I arrived in NYC April 13. Krucial Staffing placed me in a hotel in Times Square that housed close to 1200 other nurses ready to help this city; there were five other hotels with my agency alone filled with nurses who had already been working for a couple weeks. I had a quick 2-hour orientation and filled out paperwork and was told I am now on call and need to be ready to work within 30 minutes of receiving a phone call with an assignment.
I waited on call from April 13 – April 20. Six days. The death count that week was the 2nd highest week NYC had seen, the week prior was the worst (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-deaths.page). There were approximately 800 other nurses who waited eagerly in our hotel rooms for our assignment to go and start working and helping in this crisis. Krucial Staffing told us the city was the holdup – the whole city healthcare system is being run through incident command. “Government red tape” was whispered to me by the agency staff.
That is when I learned we were staffing NYC Health and Hospitals. A city run system with 13 hospitals and 5 long term care facilities. This system essentially provides free healthcare to the city. All staff are government employees. I also learned that FEMA was paying our wages through a contract with Krucial Staffing – my WEEKLY paycheck was 2.5x more than I make in a MONTH back home. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars paid me (and 800 other nurses) to sit in a hotel room for 6 days watching Netflix.
During my six days of waiting on call, I stayed put in my hotel room and took daily walks around my neighborhood (while wearing my Governor Cuomo mandated mask, that just a month ago was deemed ineffective by Dr. Fauci). I have been to New York around Christmas time, one of the busiest times of the year. This time the streets were empty. Hardly any cars on the roads. Every few blocks I walked I may have passed only 1-2 other people walking. No stores were open other than the neighborhood markets and a Target. I found a Whole Foods that was open – the line to get into the store went around the block. Inside the store social distancing went out the window. People reached over my shoulder to grab items off the shelf, no 6 feet rule – not even a 1-foot personal space was awarded. Back home people glared at me when I accidentally came 4-5 feet close to them. I was shocked when I turned the corner in Target to the household item aisle – AND FOUND TOILET PAPER! I laughed out loud and I’m sure people thought I was mental. I was used to Californians hoarding their toilet paper and shelves being bare. No one rushed to grab it off the shelf either. I had an instinct to grab it – but I then realized I was living in a hotel that supplied all my toiletry needs.
It was great being housed in a central location with other nurses because we all knew we are in this together. We had a hotel Facebook page that we used to share general information and as a “craigslist”. It was funny to see nurses posting “I have a few extra N95 masks I will trade for a face shield”, “In need of a mini fridge, I have surgical caps for trade!”, etc. (Side note – just proved to me that in critical times, money has no value.) There were lots of support and donations as well! Restaurant vendors donated free hot meals almost every day – which I was so grateful for, so I did not have to think about cooking or ordering food! Other companies donated coffee (a much-needed commodity), snacks, stress relieving kits, ice cream, and flowers. On top of all that, my wonderful friends, family, and church family sent care packages to me with snacks, masks, hair covers, hand moisturizers, and notes of encouragement! All these items were things I could not find locally near me in NYC. The love and appreciation for us nurses was overwhelming! If I walked the streets in my scrubs, I would get appreciation and applause. The New York 7 pm minute of appreciation could be heard in almost any part of the city – people would open their windows and clap, cheer, ring cowbells, and hit pots and pans to show how much they loved us and appreciated us.
I finally got an assignment 6 days later at Woodhull hospital in Brooklyn on night shifts. I was with 20 other nurses who were bused from our hotel to Woodhull every day. We were told our assignment inside the hospital could differ from day to day – we were moved from the ER to ICU to medical/surgical floors. We were to have an orientation on the charting system, which did not happen – they just made sure we could log in and the rest was up to us to figure out. The orientation leader had no sense of urgency (which seemed to be a common attitude in the hospital) to get us to the floor so we could maximize our few hours of nurse-with-nurse orientation time on the floor. The leader told us that we have “a few hours to relax before working”. We responded by telling him we came to work and ready to get going as soon as possible. “Well the nurses on the floors are tired, and they probably don’t want to have to orient yet another set of nurses – we’ll give them some time before we go up.” Once we finally got moving and got our assignments to our floor, we had to put our foot down that the hospital needed to provide us with N95s as per our contract. We got a mask – it was not an appropriate size for more than half our group. Administration played this back and forth game until we said we have the right to go back to our hotel until they can provide us with a N95 – with this threat they were able to find appropriate N95s within 2 minutes.
I was placed in one of the 6 makeshift ICU floors. This hospital usually has 2 ICUs in normal times. Disorganization is an understatement. It took about an hour for the charge nurse to assign patients. Some staff nurses walked in 30 minutes late, which then caused the assignments to all change. The nursing supervisor then had to place one of the nurses on another unit and the patient assignments changed again. This was a daily routine throughout my time there. Thankfully though, we had enough staff that every nurse had 2-3 patients (Almost the same ratios I was used to back home in an ICU). So once everything was settled, I could finally see my patients and learn the processes of the facility. All the patients on this 10-bed unit were Covid positive and intubated. Most had been there for at least a week by that point. And at least in this unit, all these patients had comorbidities. To save precious PPE, we ran IV tubing from the patient, under the door, to the pump we kept outside of the room; that way, whenever the pump beeped or medications needed to be rehung we did not have to use PPE to go into the room just for that. I quickly learned that this hospital had been run dry of vital supplies and equipment: IV tubing had to be flushed through and reused, all type of cleaning wipes were rationed, medications were running out and substitute medications had to be given (Oral azithromycin vs IV). Chux, pads, diapers, patient wipes were all hard to come by as well. The patients had no pillows or blankets either. I piled on probably close to 10 flat sheets on each patient. Usually controlled medications such as morphine and other narcotics are locked and under tight scrutiny of how much medication is given to each patient to ensure nurses and other staff are not taking advantage of these drugs for themselves. These medications were lying all over the nurses’ station and in unlocked cabinets. There was no accountability for these substances anywhere in the hospital.
These patients were very sick. So sick that when I tried to turn them to get some pressure off their bottom to prevent bed sores, their oxygenation quickly decreased, and could take hours before the patient would go back to normal levels – about the same time I would need to move them again. Most of these patients ended up on dialysis due to their kidneys shutting down, medications to keep their blood pressure to acceptable levels, and TPA (medications to break down clots that had formed due to the virus). When a COVID patient coded (heart stops beating), limited medications are given and “breathing” for the patient through a bag-valve mask is frowned upon due to the open exposure of COVID from the patient’s lungs to the open air where all of us medical workers are – even though we had N95 masks on. I repeat, even though we had the proper PPE to protect us from 95% of virus particles in the air, we still were not allowed to save patients’ lives. I just remember watching my patients die before my eyes and I was helpless. It was a defeating moment, because in normal circumstances these patients might have had a better chance – but with limited staff, supplies, and policies there just seemed to be no hope. One of my coworkers with Krucial Staffing watched a resident doctor fidgeting with the endotracheal tube (the breathing tube that is in the patient’s airway that is connected to the ventilator) and accidentally pulled the tube out of the patient – the only doctor that is allowed to intubate in that hospital (other than the ER physician) is the anesthesiologist. They paged and paged for him to come down and the patient ended up coding waiting for him – and then dying. Another needless death.
I had only spent two days in the ICU, but those two days were enough. If my patient was not grossly unstable, we did nothing. I charted vitals every hour, chased their blood pressure with pressors, performed oral care, drew labs, and tried my best to turn my patients and do other standards of care, but nothing as far as medicine to rehabilitate was done. Myself and other nurses had to vent to each other about how once the patients got their few days of rounds of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine (which was another fight with the doctors to at least try – and now it has been confirmed to have helped https://www.henryford.com/news/2020/07/hydro-treatment-study) then the patients sat there until their bodies gave in, decompensated, and died. Nothing was done! We were behind the ball when another body system shut down – nothing was preventative.
Patient’s families and visitors were not allowed in hospitals at all! Can you imagine dropping off your family member at the doors of the ER and never seeing them again due to them falling victim to Covid? Family advocates are huge in the health and plan of care for a patient. Families were not there to question what was being done; staff did not have to answer to anyone. When you have family at the bedside, you realize that this is a real person, not just another patient, its someone’s loved one. Some staff fell into the unfortunate mindset of “this is just another COVID case” and some things are missed in providing high quality care. A coworker of mine who was mainly placed in the ICUs shared with me how she got on the phone with the family member of a young, dying patient and urged them to call about updates in their loved ones health every single day. The nurse shared that the family listened and acted, and due to their insistence, a more aggressive plan of care was developed and performed by the healthcare team.
The Lord is good, and healing did occur! People did recover! I remember hearing the triumphant song “Rise Up” by Andra Day that would play overhead throughout the hospital when a patient was extubated (recovered/strong enough to be taken off the ventilator)!!! I remember the joy and clapping from the staff throughout the hospital whenever it played!
I worked a few days on a psych unit that was converted to care for medical patients. This patient population was a mix of positive and negative Covid patients. At this point in time, the hospital was still not separating out units of positive and negative cases like it later eventually did – instead Covid positive patients would be in one room and negative patients might be next door or across the hall….the whole time with their doors wide open. But I believe at this point the CDC and Dr Fauci had changed their stance once again and said it was not airborne (https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations#:~:text=According%20to%20current%20evidence%2C,transmission%20was%20not%20reported.) I don’t know, it’s hard to keep up with the changing policies everyday…
Most of my time at Woodhull I worked in the ER. The ER had obviously been hit the hardest out of all floors in the hospital, as it always is. I had missed the “hell week” as some nurses called the first week or two of April when each ER room had 3 patients with at least one patient intubated in each room. A travel nurse shared with me that she had 13 patients her first night in the ER with 4 of them intubated. (NY does not have nurse to patient ratios; in CA its law that an ER nurse only have up to 4 patients, and if they have an intubated patient your ratio is down to 2 patients). There is absolutely no way a nurse can care for that number of patients, especially with that critical of patients. A physician’s assistant shared with me that a patient had been waiting in a bed in the ER for over 13 hours to be seen and when the provider finally went up to them, the patient was dead – cold, stiff dead. This patient was assigned to a nurse who had 13+ patients, and unfortunately got missed. This was the week 800 nurses were sitting in a hotel room waiting to work.
I thought the units and other floors were limited on supplies, but when I stepped into the ER, it was a whole different story. We had limited PPE. We would wear one gown the whole shift, one N95 for 5 days. This was opposed to the units and floors where the PPE one wore into a room was thrown away to eliminate the risk of spreading the virus around the unit. So, if we had a positive Covid patient in the ER and then walked to a non-Covid patient, chances were, we were vectors of transmission. There were very limited cleaning supplies. No bleach wipes, nothing to wipe the beds and equipment down between patients. I just prayed the flat sheet on the bed was enough protection for the next patient because there was nothing else I could do. Supplies were hard to come by. Nothing was stocked in the carts in the halls. I remember there was a day where I had to look all over the ER for an IV – I dared not miss on the patient. The vitals machines near each bed did not work or if they did, I had to search the ER for the right cords for each modality. Blood pressure cuffs had been considered gold the whole time I was there – we would put them in hidden places or put them in our pockets if we found one and would use it on every patient. Again, no wipes between each patient – it just was not an option. Worst part of the ER, which could not have been prevented in a pandemic, was that the whole ER was curtained off, meaning no walls or doors in between patients. The ER only had 1 isolation room…which I honestly never saw a patient in there – don’t ask me why, but if I had a guess is that Covid was already out of control so why try? At this point as well, the whole country was short on masks so no patient was wearing a mask unless we tested them for Covid, which after they got tested would get one. I could not give a patient a mask just based on my opinion that the patient might have Covid because the masks were locked up and only the charge nurse would hand them out on a case by case basis. It was a battle to just get a mask as a travel staff every 5 days.
The standard at the time was to intubate any patient with respiratory distress. This was done to not spread Covid through other means such as Bipap – a noninvasive device that pushes air into the lungs. In any other disease, a Bipap device would be the next step clinically, then last resort would be intubation. For most, intubation is a death sentence – especially in the elderly. There is a small filter device that can be connected to the Bipap so that it would not spread Covid and other germs, but when I mentioned this device to the hospital staff many had no idea what I was talking about. We would completely skip the Bipap and intubate anyone in even slight respiratory distress. One patient who was clearly in a congestive heart failure exacerbation met every requirement to be on Bipap, and a well-respected doctor allowed it. With the Bipap and a few medications, she recovered from respiratory distress within about 20-30 minutes. She was being admitted and the hospitalist came down and saw her on the Bipap. The hospitalist turned to me and yelled “Why is she on Bipap? We are spreading Covid everywhere!” I calmly stated to the doctor, “Look around” I gestured to the ER, “Covid is already everywhere, but we saved her life.” The doctor said nothing and walked away.
In the ER, you get to see how patients present and what their symptoms are. Some Covid patients never even had respiratory issues – maybe just abdominal pain. It was unfathomable how fast they would decompensate. One minute they were up walking around and the next they struggled to breathe. I got efficient (not perfect of course) at looking at a chest x-ray and a set of labs and predicting if a patient would be positive or not – regardless of their symptoms. I want to reiterate that patients who were hit hardest with the coronavirus had comorbidities. I never saw one healthy person intubated or died. Comorbidities include COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), CHF (congestive heart failure), chronic kidney failure, etc. It also includes obesity and diabetes! These last two comorbidities were very common among my patients and I have seen medical professionals diminish these as nothing, but these comorbidities are the gateway to many other fatal conditions.
On my way to the hospital morgue one night, I saw the outside of the refrigerated trucks where the bodies were stored until their proper burial. There were two semi-trucks for this hospital, each held 3 beds high and 8 beds deep on each side. The transporter employee who was in charge of placing the bodies told me he had to place two bodies to one bed, the feet of one person touching the head of their bedmate. He continued to explain the ER gurney does not fit in the aisle between the shelves of bodies. The bagged bodies were taken off the gurney, placed on the floor, dragged on the truck ramp into the truck to a place they could fit. These were people that either their family wanted to wait for social distancing orders to lift to have a proper funeral, the families could not afford to bury their loved one, or were people who no one claimed and were going to be part of a mass burial on Hart Island in the Manhattan region. Potter’s field of Hart Island will be the final resting place of the poor and forgotten that will have one plaque to commemorate the thousands that have died of COVID-19.
I was not always taking care of Covid patients though – this ER had their frequent flyers just like any other. One of my first nights in the ER I was assigned to what was known as the “drunk tank”. The people who drank and drugged themselves up on the streets were brought (some came on their own) to the ER to sober up. Most were aggressive and violent. This was not a new experience for me as I work in the “meth capital” of California and where homeless and drug use rates are sky high, but I did become very frustrated. I had about 8 of these patients one night, all getting fluids so they basically would not experience a hangover, all obstinate, all peeing all over the floors, all wanting sandwiches, all trying to get up and walk but would fall and hit their heads and causing more problems for themselves. I remember being so frustrated with these patients for wasting precious resources during a pandemic. Yeah, I know, I admit it. I am a jaded ER nurse, but I will not apologize and give these people an excuse for their actions. People were dying, but they were there taking up nurses and doctors and supplies because of their addictions. It’s sad on so many levels.
We had a great team in the ER on nightshift – many from my travel group, other travel agencies, and even the Navy. At one point, each section assignment of 4-5 patients had 3 nurses assigned. Woodhull staff nurses said this many nurses in the ER was unheard of – it was typical to have 2 nurses caring for up to 24 patients before Covid occurred. The Navy nurses updated us on the USS Comfort status – basically that it did not see nearly the number of patients as what they all thought it would see. It was a great experience working with all these nurses from around the country. I learned many new ways of doing things. I also met other Krucial Staffing employees that made an impact on me. One of my bus drivers who was from Georgia shared that he and his family were initially scared when he accepted this job in the heart of the pandemic in the US. He made a statement that will forever be with me: “My prayer for this job was this: If I don’t get the virus, it was the Lord protecting me. If I do get the virus, then the Lord will be with me. If I die from the virus, I will be with the Lord.”
I did not ever contract any symptoms of Covid the whole time I was in New York. The Lord’s protection was on me. Most of the staff at Woodhull had been positive for Covid at one point, and the hospital sadly lost staff due to the virus. Because staff had already contracted the virus and recovered, they did not wear PPE when they came back to work. I did not meet one travel nurse that came down with Covid, but of course there were some that did with Krucial Staffing. The evolution of our PPE decreased throughout the weeks. I, along with most, at the beginning wore a gown, head coverings, N95, surgical mask on top of the N95, and a face shield/eyewear. Towards the end of my time, I only wore a surgical mask around potential Covid patients and intubated patients. Of course, I showered after every shift and kept my nursing clothes and gear separate in my hotel room even after I wiped it all down with Clorox wipes.
I completed 17 days straight of 12-hour shifts. The longest stretch I have ever worked in my life. About day 12, all I was doing was working, showering, sleeping. I found time to eat here and there, but I honestly was too exhausted to eat. After that stretch, I had a few days off and then decided to extend my contract for another 3 weeks – which at that point I was promised at least 2-3 days off per week. It was around that same time that the hospital experienced a low census and sent many of my colleagues home. It was sad to say goodbye, but it was a sign that we were doing a good job and the city was recovering. This is when I really had time to observe, examine, and reflect on what was really going on in the hospital.
After my first week working at Woodhull, the overall hospital census rapidly decreased down. The makeshift ICUs were emptying and closed. The ER census was similar to what I left back at my home hospital – one night I literally had only one patient that was there for a total of 4 hours and then was discharged home. That was my entire night. This happened more or less for a few weeks. By the beginning of May, patient census picked up and hospital staff said we were seeing our frequent flyers. The great Covid pandemic was over. Of course, we would get the occasional Covid rule out, but it was now the minority. The majority of Covid cases were sent home to quarantine anyway. This continued the rest of my time in NY.
There was one patient who came into the ER who had already previously tested positive for Covid and sent home to recover and quarantine. She came back because she felt worse. Her vitals were normal, her labs great, chest x-ray better than the previous visit. She eventually shared as she was hysterically crying that she was scared she was going to die; she “had seen it all over the news that everyone is dying!” I was heartbroken. Not because “everyone was dying”; I was sad because the news was only sharing the worst of the worst of Covid. I’ve seen it! The NYC local news showed the new daily death count numbers multiple times a day – they never cared to show the recoveries! They always played clips of parts of hospitals flooded with people on beds in hallways and some with no beds as they lay “dying on the floor.” Staff have even told me that these news clips were only from one hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, on only the worst day of the pandemic. This young lady who was otherwise healthy with no medical conditions bought the lie of fear.
With less “very sick” patients in the ER, I used this extra time at work to stock supplies, organize, clean as much as I could, and dig into the new charting system I was thrown into. When those chores were exhausted, I still had time to sit and talk with nurses and providers to learn from and converse about current affairs. Unfortunately, I learned that us travelers (nurses, doctors, mid-level providers) were pushing out the per diem staff. As stated before, my travel agency procured the FEMA contract. I do not know the exact details of what this means for my specific company, but I found a description of how FEMA funds have been distributed, not only during Covid but during any times of a state of emergency. FEMA covers 75% of the costs of employees’ overtime pay. So essentially, the hospital paid for my 3 days of regular time – the other 4 days a week were paid by FEMA. The hospital was getting a buy one, get one free on us. So, per diem staff were only allowed to work their minimum 1 day a month and not pick up extra shifts, as they were not as monetarily valuable as the travel staff. Other nurses shared they would usually pick up an extra shift every week, but because we had the contract for overtime shifts there were not extra shifts for these employees. A per diem physician assistant shared with me that the loss of income was difficult, but he was thankful he had another job and God continued to provide for him and his family.
Along the lines of FEMA, of course we had all heard the rumors of hospitals and doctors inflating the Covid cases to gain more federal money for each patient in the hospital. There is extra monetary gain from these practices with Medicare patients. A normal pneumonia hospitalization payout to a hospital would be $5000 per patient. For Covid positive hospitalized patients it is $13,000 and $39,000 for Medicare Covid positive patients on ventilators. New York is one of many states that allows “Presumed Covid” as a diagnosis and still gets paid out by Medicare (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/24/fact-check-medicare-hospitals-paid-more-covid-19-patients-coronavirus/3000638001/). I can say I did see a death, an obvious death caused by drug overdose, be deemed Covid-related. The patient was coded at home by medics for over 40 minutes. The patient was then transported to us. As soon as the patient was moved from the EMS gurney to the hospital gurney, the doctor checked for any cardiac movement via bedside ultrasound, found none, and called time of death. The doctor stated presumed Covid related death. No labs were taken. No chest x-rays. No nasal swab. Nothing was done to even have a suspicion of Covid.
It took the hospital until beginning of May to have separated units of positive and negative Covid patients. This is TWO months after the country was placed in a state of emergency for an airborne pandemic. I remember having to argue my case to the nurse on a non-Covid med/surg floor I was taking my non-Covid patient to. This nurse wanted to refuse this negative patient to the negative Covid floor for fear of the test being “wrong”. Sure, tests can give false positives and negatives, but this patient, who had no common symptoms of the virus, was going to a private room anyway – why expose him to the virus if at this point he was deemed medically cleared of Covid? Let’s use common sense! Let’s look at the whole picture! It seemed that medical personnel completely forgot that we still could have other diseases, not just Covid, during a pandemic. It seems we can only believe patients are Covid positive, or if they are negative, “the test must be wrong.” This resulted in many, many negative patients to be placed on positive floors and then become positive for Covid themselves.
As I mentioned before, the nursing ratio is nonexistent in the state of New York and many other states as well. This greatly hurt the quality of care of the influx of patients this hospital received. Fourteen patients to one nurse, a third of those on a ventilator?! If you are not a medical professional, this means that these patients’ airways are completely controlled by the nurse. Respiratory therapy at that point was busy helping the doctors with intubations, so ALL the ventilator care was left to the nurses. This means watching ventilator settings, adjusting as needed, suctioning the airway as needed, performing oral care to prevent infection, responding to the alarms of the ventilator and acting accordingly, etc. It also means that the patients have at least 1-2 IV drip medications to control their sedation that need to be consistently monitored and titrated for greatest effect. In addition, nurses needed to draw their own labs, give additional medications such as IV antibiotics, monitor vitals (with malfunctioning equipment!), and turn the patient to prevent bed sores. There is absolutely no way that a nurse can properly care for 4 critically acute ventilated patients while also assessing, monitoring, administering medications, updating doctors on status, transporting to other floors, transporting to radiology and back on up to 8 other patients! I understand in times of emergencies that ratios go by the wayside, but if the hospital was properly and safely staffed in normal times, patient care would be of a higher quality. The negligence of the hospitals and the state of New York to even allow themselves to be that vulnerable in normal status, but then not have extra personnel in cases of emergency is grossly irresponsible.
In addition, most regular staffed nurses at this hospital were incompetent and negligible in their care and practice as a registered nurse. For example, the charge nurse, with the most experience on night shift, responded to the order of maintaining C-spine by whipping a trauma patient’s head and neck from side to side and stating “See no blood from his head, he is fine, no fracture.” And then proceeding to argue and cuss at staff when they pointed out her mistake – in front of other patients. This same nurse could not complete the ER director’s basic yearly competency exam – these were questions that I, a one-year nurse, could answer with no difficulty! Other nurses proved their incompetence by standing idly by when their patient was getting intubated while the doctor and I scrambled to save the patient’s life. Some nurses tried to defibrillate a patient with a pulse and non-shockable rhythm. Laziness was another unprofessional skill I witnessed. Nurses purposefully left the floor for up to an hour at a time, left orders uncompleted for hours, and watched as other nurses completed their work. Many nurses, even the travel nurses, performed a barely adequate job and exclaimed, “Can’t lose my license over this, Governor Cuomo said no malpractice lawsuits can be claimed during this time!” A staff nurse shared with us that it is very difficult to fire an employee, because all employees at the NYC health and hospital system are government employees – “there’s nothing we can do.”
I come from a hospital where nurses have greater autonomy and ER protocols. Protocols are a set of pre-approved orders in certain scenarios that a nurse can implement without a physician’s direct order. This has been shown to improve patient care, treat quickly, and improve the ER flow of patients by reducing the time the patient is triaged to when they are seen by the provider (https://www.acep.org/patient-care/policy-statements/standardized-protocols-for-optimizing-emergency-department-care/). Woodhull ER did not have any protocols that their nurses could implement. Physicians shared with me that this unfortunate policy was due to the fact of not being able to trust their nurses. I was not surprised. This is no doubt another factor on why the Covid influx of patients in the beginning of April crowded the ER and resulted in hundreds of deaths.
Doctors were not innocent on this account either. Many standards of care were overlooked; many standard treatments not given. The most outrageous crime I witnessed was when an experienced doctor wanted to medically and physically restrain competent patients. These patients were requesting psychiatric care but did not fully agree with the plan of care that was laid out. Us nurses argued on the patient’s behalf to the doctors – I ultimately had to print out the New York State law for psychiatric patient’s rights to refuse medical care to prove we were right. There are many, many other stories of standards not being observed by physicians.
The point where these actions hit me most was when I had been asked by a patient abruptly where I was from. I told the patient and then jokingly asked if I had an accent and that was why they asked. The patient responded with a straight face, “No, I knew you weren’t from here because you actually care about me and your other patients and it shows – these nurses here do not treat us like that.” This conversation was repeated to me almost word for word by two other patients on different occasions. And trust me, these conversations did not happen after any significant event on my behalf. I was tired, hungry, burnt out, running on a few hours of sleep. I only assessed them, made small talk to distract them from the IV insertion, and gave them medications. I did nothing more than the standards any professional nurse should carry out. These staff nurses disgrace the profession of nursing.
There was one night in particular that I had to vent to a fellow travel nurse about the incompetence I had just witnessed and she “talked me off the ledge” of quitting that night. She encouraged me with words from a newer staff nurse that we both adored for her great nursing skills, work ethic, and genuine spirit. She stated, “I knew there was more to nursing than what I saw here, and now that I’ve seen how you travel nurses work, I have hope again in nursing.” We both shared a teary-eyed moment and celebrated the honor that God placed us here in New York for a reason – to be an example to fellow nurses by genuinely caring for our patients.
That was the turning point for me. I vowed I would be that example. My fiery attitude came out and I began to speak up against the atrocities I saw, despite the threats of being fired and sent home. When I would stand up to nurses, doctors, and administrators about how policies could be changed for the better of patients, the answer I would receive was “It is what it is”, “this is Woodhull”, “You’re obviously not from here and do not know our ways.” But I continued anyway. I will never personally know what my small stands of opposition against outdated medical practices have led to, but more importantly, my mind is at peace knowing that I gave my patients the best evidence-based care I could provide given the resources I had. And I want to make one thing clear, these conditions were common between all NYC Health and Hospital systems hospitals and nursing homes that Krucial Staffing were staffed at.
I was in NYC for a total of 50 days. My deployment ended at the beginning of June on my request to leave, after my second 3-week contract ended. At that point violent riots were near my work and were right outside my hotel lobby’s door. Krucial Staffing placed us on lockdown after a van of nurses coming home from work was attacked by rioters in Times Square. I went to NY to serve during a Covid pandemic and it seemed the city believed it was over since masses of people were congregating despite mandated masks and social distancing orders. My work appeared to be finished.
The biggest lesson I learned as a nurse being in NYC was how important advocacy for my patient is. As I have mentioned previously, these patients only had their nurses to fight on their behalf. I always knew advocacy was a part of the nursing field but did not realize the importance until I was the only one advocating. I am grateful to be able to grow this character trait as I know it will be continually used throughout my nursing career. Ultimately, I could not have withstood the trials I encountered if it weren’t for my God next to me along the way. I developed a guttural response whenever my bus turned the corner and the hospital was in sight. The darkness, evilness, and death that lived there could be spiritually and physically felt. I remember hearing that still small voice “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me…”. This became my anthem and comfort as I walked into the doors of that hospital.
I have been so grateful to be back home among friends, family, and my coworkers. My eyes have been opened to the blessings I have in my work place and I will never take advantage of the fantastic nurses, techs, doctors, and other essential hospital staff that make for a well-working team that truly does provide excellent patient care. I have said countless times that if all the same patients that were treated at Woodhull were brought to my little hometown “rural” hospital, the patient outcomes would have been vastly different – I’d put money on it!
Since I’ve been home, I have been asked countless times what my take is on the conditions in NYC, mortality of the virus, and the overall pandemic conditions (conspiracies as well). Here are my opinions based on my experiences and facts of science:
First and foremost, the virus is real. It is real and could be fatal to those susceptible. But! (I have been saying this since January and my medical friends are going to hate me for saying this once again…) It is just another “flu”. One cannot even say it’s like SARS or MERS. These two viruses had mortality rates upwards of 35% (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-do-sars-and-mers-compare-with-covid-19). At this point, July 2020, the mortality rate of Covid-19 worldwide is 0.04% (https://covid19.who.int/). As our country is completing the highest rate of testing in the world, we are seeing our case numbers increase and our mortality rate decrease! This is great news! Hear me out. First, it shows promise to achieving herd immunity as more and more of the population contracts this virus. Which will eventually protect our immunocompromised, elderly, and otherwise susceptible populations. Second, it shows us that the mortality rate is not as high as once predicted – everyday the number gets closer and closer to flu mortality rates.
We never should have extended the lockdown past the initial 2 weeks. We need to remember why the lockdown was initially placed: to flatten the curve so that hospitals could prepare for the influx of patients by preparing supplies and personnel. When the lockdown was extended, guess who suffered? The hospitals and their employees as I shared earlier. We are not going to eradicate this virus – it’s ludicrous to believe so! It’s crazy to believe in lockdown until eradication or a vaccine is created – if it could ever be created.
NYC was never ready for an epidemic despite their being a site of multiple epidemics in history (Yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, and influenza). Leadership of NYC made terrible decisions on how to handle the epidemic in that city. (Example: placing patients in nursing homes that were not capable of quarantining their clients, not utilizing temporary hospitals such as the Javits Center and the USNS Comfort, not preparing for an epidemic with supplies, etc). Also, the inadequate numbers of medical staffing and nonexistent patient ratios added to the mass casualty and mayhem in the hospitals. These are factors that could have been controlled by state legislation, but were overlooked. And lastly, incompetent medical staff that grossly neglect their duties and oaths to their patients to “do no harm”. I firmly believe that these factors along with the close proximity of the population’s living conditions were the reasons why the virus got out of control in New York City.
Mask or no mask…this is a conflict I continually struggle with. My “patriot” side of me thinks the government should not tell anyone what we can or cannot wear/do, even during a health crisis; the nurse side of me just wants to protect my patients and follow SCIENTIFIC guidelines. All I will say is this – if the government is mandating masks, they should mandate EFFECTIVE masks such as N95s. The homemade masks and even the medical grade surgical masks will not, I repeat, WILL NOT, protect you from the virus (if it truly is airborne transmitted). If it is only droplet transmitted, then simply cover your cough and sneeze as most of the public does despite pandemic conditions – and stay home if you’re sick. The biggest protection you have is soap and water – wash your hands people! In fact, there is a new study that states Covid-19 is fecal-oral transmitted (https://www.patreon.com/posts/are-we-being-to-38846883?fbclid=IwAR0OlNP1qVxr07dSgNmQGwY8FDcqcq2pZ3RwkWdNB33p7KZyXmamxdTi4zU). Essentially washing your hands is the best way to prevent this and any other disease, no matter what the transmission vector is.
Conspiracy theories? The science community is at odds on the origin of this virus – many suspicious activities have been found to have occurred in a Wuhan laboratory. There is still so much to learn about this virus. I just pray that the theory of bioterrorism intent is wrong for the sake of humanity, but I will not dismiss this theory along with other theories until proven otherwise. I do believe, whether manmade or not, that this pandemic has been utilized as a weapon for political gain as the numbers, facts, and science do not support many measures taken by politicians.
I truly thank you all for your support and prayers during my adventures to NYC. I also greatly appreciate taking the time to read about my experiences. My intent on this writing was to inform people about the truth of what was going on in those hospitals. If you have any questions or want further clarification about something I wrote, please feel free to contact me.
May God bless and keep you and your family safe.
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