Out-of-state nurses share experiences of COVID-19 front lines in NYC hospital

Nurses have been in the forefront of this pandemic, with many having to leave their states to help the city.

News 12 Staff

May 21, 2020, 5:26 PM

Updated 1,457 days ago

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Nurses have been in the forefront of this pandemic, with many having to leave their states to help the city.
News 12 spoke to two nurses from out of state who came to aid New York City during some of its darkest times.
Houston nurse Chika Galega-Sabum says when she got the call she packed her bags and left her Texas home to come help at the epicenter of the coronavirus.
“The first week I would have to say was the hardest week, because I had no idea what I was getting into, I didn’t know what to expect,” says Galega-Sabum.“The first three weeks, gurneys every five minutes literally being pulled out.”
She was assigned to North Central Bronx where says she completed eight weeks of 12-hour shifts with only two days off.
Galega-Sabum says as a health care worker she tried to cope with her emotions, but it just kept getting harder watching patients die.
”I didn't really have time to think about myself. I would literally wake up, go to work and come back, take a shower and do it all over again,” says Galega-Sabum.
She is now back in Houston, and reunited with her husband after quarantining for 14 days.
”The first week I had anxiety waking up. I felt like I had to do something. Like I was missing something,” says Galega-Sabum.
Nurse Patricia Anderson, who is still stationed at North Central Bronx, left her full time job in Maryland to treat coronavirus patients in New York.
She says the number of patients is decreasing.
“I think nurse to a patient ratio is like one to two, which is normal. It was almost triple of that when I first arrived,” says Anderson.
Like hundreds of nurses, Anderson has put her life on pause to help others for nearly two months.
“I believe that coronavirus is as contagious and bad for your health as people say, I mean there has been 40-year-old patients who are fit built and leave looking so different,” she says.
Planning her return to Maryland, Anderson says she hopes people continue to follow health guidelines.
“I wish people would know that it’s not a conspiracy, it’s not a joke, that it’s not fake, that it’s very real your body just starts to completely deteriorate,” says Anderson.
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