Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The desperate struggle at one NYC hospital on the front lines of the coronavirus fight

Published Apr 3rd, 2020 6:04PM EDT
NYC coronavirus update
Image: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • According to the latest coronavirus numbers from Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,500 people have died so far from the virus in New York City, which has also seen more than 45,000 residents test positive.
  • New York City has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the US, and one reporter recently got a tour of a hospital on the front lines of this fight — Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The eerie reality that you’d probably notice the quickest if there was any way for you to visit the Intensive Care Unit at Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center right now is the presence of IV drop bags out in the hallway. Nurses have to adjust those bags, which deliver drugs and fluids to the suffering coronavirus patients, but that would require proximity to the patients themselves — and so, thanks to long tubes that snake underneath closed doors, the bags stand out in the hallway.The hospital — where workers were recently filmed moving bodies wrapped on gurneys into position to be loaded onto a trailer — gave a tour of its coronavirus preparations in recent days to a New York Post reporter. The tour was meant to illustrate the preparations being made there, where 26 coronavirus patients were packed into the ICU on one particular day when the normal number is half that much. Most of the patients were sedated and relying on ventilators to keep their lungs going, while the reporter noted one man who appeared to be in his 30s who had an oxygen mask strapped to his face, with the only sound around him the low hiss of the oxygen tank.

This comes as New York City remains the epicenter of the virus in the US, and is expected to hit its peak in a matter of days in terms of the number of cases and deaths.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sounded a grim alarm on Friday about the city’s resources, lamenting that there’s not currently enough medical staff or equipment for the city to make it through next week with its expected surge in new patients. “If we have the personnel, if we have the equipment, lives are going to be saved,” the mayor told CNN on Friday. “If we don’t, people will die who did not need to die. As of Sunday, we start to run out of ventilators, we start to get really stressed in terms of our personnel.”

That personnel includes those at Maimonides Medical Center, where the Post also got a tour of the ground-floor Trauma Center as well as the ICU on the eighth floor. In the former, most of the patients seemed unconscious, and most were on ventilators.

The hospital normally has about 10% of its 711 beds devoted to critical care, but it’s added about 200 since the outbreak of the coronavirus — and some 250 beds are now occupied by the most worst-off patients. “The most scary thing is to see how rapidly the patients deteriorate,” Celeste Bethon, the hospital’s vice president of nursing, told the paper. “When they deteriorate, they deteriorate very quickly. Their oxygen levels drop very quickly and it’s very difficult for us to get them back to where we want them to be.”

A New York Post photographer captured these images: /> />>

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

More Science