DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Parkland Hospital in Dallas is giving a rare look into where it treats COVID-19 patients as areas of North Texas see spikes in the virus.
“When you walk into that space, you can hear a lot of alarms and hear a lot of bells,” said Samantha Rowley, RN and Sr. VP of Surgical Services COVID Units at Parkland.
Rowley described what it’s like at one of the hospital’s COVID-19 units where health care heroes are looking to save lives.
“So at this point in time, all the COVID units are bursting at the seams. And we’re trying to find other ways that we can accommodate more volume in the organization,” Rowley said.
Parkland has four fully converted COVID units and a fifth is half full. Rowley’s biggest concern, however, is not space.
“Are we going to have enough doctors? Are we gonna have enough nurses? Are we gonna have enough folks that can actually make sure we provide them the highest level of support that they deserve?” Rowley said.
While staffing issues remain a concern, the patients keep coming in.
“So you’re seeing those workers get tired, you’re seeing them, you know, we have to constantly ask them every single day if they can work more, and can they help us more. And what else do they have to give which requires them to be away from their families,” Rowley said.
And then there’s the emotional toll of just being in this type of environment and watching patients’ families feel the brunt too.
“There’s only so many times you can hear people wailing from the halls. So definitely folks on any given day are emotional, the entire time they’re here, whether they’re in the youth themselves, or whether they’re walking off the floor, you’re giving it your all to save a life. And sometimes we don’t win. And that is I mean, it’s devastating,” Rowley said.
“You have the families that are on the Zoom machines, you have the families that are present at the bedside, you have families that have little kids, we have women that had babies two weeks ago that don’t survive, getting the disease postpartum,” she added.
Rowley credited encouraging notes from doctors and nurses in other units and from patients, their families and the community for keeping them going.
“They call it the wall of love. That has been really a positive reminder that’s actually in our break room,” Rowley said.
“We have them in multiple areas so that people can see all the positivity coming out of it and a reminder for all the hard work they do. That has been an amazing gift for the team,” she added.