‘We are at ground zero’: News 12 talks with 2 critical care nurses at Hackensack University Medical Center

It's hard to fathom what health care workers are going through right now, especially in New Jersey's epicenter for coronavirus cases, Bergen County.

News 12 Staff

Apr 3, 2020, 9:54 AM

Updated 1,473 days ago

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It's hard to fathom what health care workers are going through right now, especially in New Jersey's epicenter for coronavirus cases, Bergen County. News 12 talked with two critical care nurses at Hackensack University Medical Center to give people a better idea.
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“Where Kelly and I are right now, we are in the intensive care unit,” says Dina Martorana. “We are at ground zero. We were the first unit to take on all of these COVID patients, and I have to say honestly, that the majority of our patients are all on ventilators.”
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Question: “Did you ever think that you would see so many critical care patients at the same time, suffering from the same illness in the ICU/CCU?”

“I don't think anyone could have predicted the number of critical care patients we're taking care of at this moment,” says Kelly Innamorato. “They just keep coming and it seems like there's no end in sight.”
Full Interview: Hackensack University Medical Center critical care nurses
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Question: “Kelly, it must be unbelievably painful to speak to the family members and know that they can't come and see their loved ones.”

“The pain that they must be feeling to not be at the bedside, I just took a phone call from someone asking what happens if they're going to die,” says Innamorato. “'Am I going to find out? Am I going to be able to come and see them? We don't want them to die alone.' I said, of course, we wouldn't want that either, but this is what families are struggling with. Their loved ones are alone, without anyone by their bedside to hold their hand and comfort them, and for us to have to try the best we can to comfort them over the phone the best we can is very difficult."

Question: “Dina, how much of a toll is this taking on you, and on Kelly, and on all of the nurses and critical care workers? Dealing with this day in and day out, bringing home, to your own households, and your own families?"
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“It's incredibly difficult that my husband and I have to bring this home to them,” says Martorana. “Believe me, there are sometimes when you're on your way home and you just break down and cry, and it's OK. It's OK to do that because this is not a natural situation. This is not normal.”
The good news is that Martorana says she is seeing improvement in patients, and wants to reassure the community that we are going to get through this.


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