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CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: Jersey City Testing Sites Open; NJ Doctor Says Hospital Workers Are In ‘Battle Zone’

Sadly, the situation at Hoboken University Medical Center isn’t unique.

CBS2 got an exclusive first-hand account of the overwhelming hardship inside Christ Hospital in Jersey City from Dr. Anuj Shah, a cardiologist who is now working in the battle zone that is the hospital’s ICU.

“You get one mask per provider per day. You take it off, you put it in this brown paper bag, and then you reuse it as much as you have to,” Shah said. “We have to make decisions about who gets ventilators, who gets dialysis, who gets care.”

Time to save patients is running out. Even doctors and nurses are dying.

“We all know by this time that we have a colleague who either died or is on the verge of dying,” Shah said.

Medical professionals who promised they were prepared are starting to admit it’s worse than they could have ever imagined.
The fear is this is only the beginning of a months-long marathon-style fight and that the number of deaths will continue to soar if life-saving supplies aren’t fast-tracked to these hard-hit hospitals.

Meanwhile, supplies are still dangerously scarce.

CBS2’s Tara Jakeway spoke with a NJ cardiologist who has his own practice but, like many other medical professionals, has stepped up and in to the ICU.

“Something that we have never even imagined in our wildest dreams – that we would live through a plague,” said Dr. Anuj Shah. “They’re all working, everybody’s picking up extra shifts. They are in the battle zone.”

Health care workers around the globe are running low on personal protection equipment, or PPEs, and it’s no different at Christ Hospital in Jersey City.

“You get one mask per provider per day. You take it off, you put it in this brown paper bag, and then you reuse it as much as you have to,” Shah said.

N95 masks are so few they’re now only used when a patient is what Shah called “code blue,” or intubated. He said the masks aren’t the only lifesaving equipment being reused.

“The minute a patient gets off a ventilator, another patient is ready, who needs to go on a ventilator. But there is not enough time to make sure ventilators are clean and functional again,” he said.

Doctors and nurses have been forced to get creative to stay safe, like using extra long IVs.

“They are extending the tube size and they are maintaining the pump outside, so they don’t have to keep going in and out,” said Shah.

Hospitals are keeping each patient’s medical team small to limit exposure, but in some cases the virus is not contained.

“We all know by this time that we have a colleague who either died or is on the verge of dying,” Shah said.

https://newyork.cbslocal.com/

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