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ICU health care workers comfort patients, cope with trauma

As the pandemic has ravaged the United States, frontline health care workers have remained resilient in serving to the sick and dying. But it has taken a toll.

To stop the virus from spreading additional, households have not been allowed to go to family members within the hospital. Medical workers throughout the United States — first responders, nurses, medical doctors, social and non secular help specialists — have tried to bridge the hole by connecting households with cellphone and video calls. 

USA TODAY’s Harrison Hill and Sandy Hooper take you into Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California, a neighborhood in northwestern Los Angeles, because the hospital employees battle the pandemic.

While a few of the following scenes could also be tough to witness, they present the cruel actuality confronted day-after-day by health care workers throughout the nation. 

A registered nurse checks on a patient on the COVID floor at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

A registered nurse checks on a affected person on the COVID flooring at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Julie Medeiros, respiratory therapist
“Sometimes all you can do is brush and braid someone’s hair, and if I have time I try to do it.”

Etelvina Dominguez, 78, beloved professional wrestling and tending to the household backyard. “Vina,” as her household known as her, was hospitalized with COVID-19 and placed on life help. The day earlier than her dying, solely her husband and eldest son might be there as the remainder of the Dominguez household mentioned their goodbyes over a video name.

Lorenzo Dominguez Jr., 54, Etelvina’s eldest son
“I hear about it, I see it on the news, and it doesn’t really hit you until it hits home — and it definitely hit home.”

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Lorenzo Dominguez Jr. prays for his mom, Etelvina Dominguez, throughout his go to at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center on Feb. 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. Dominguez and his father, Lorenzo Dominguez Sr., proper, had been the one relations allowed into the hospital. Members of the Dominguez household speak to Etelvina, 78, by way of a smartphone.
Lorenzo Dominguez Jr. prays for his mom, Etelvina Dominguez, throughout his go to at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center on Feb. 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. Dominguez and his father, Lorenzo Dominguez Sr., proper, had been the one relations allowed into the hospital. Members of the Dominguez household speak to Etelvina, 78, by way of a smartphone.
Lorenzo Dominguez Jr. prays for his mom, Etelvina Dominguez, throughout his go to at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center on Feb. 12, 2021, in Los Angeles. Dominguez and his father, Lorenzo Dominguez Sr., proper, had been the one relations allowed into the hospital. Members of the Dominguez household speak to Etelvina, 78, by way of a smartphone.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY
Julie Medeiros, respiratory therapist
“I think we’re all hanging in there. We [have] worked so many hours, so many extra hours and seen more death than anyone should ever have to see.”


Respiratory therapist Julie Medeiros, center, and intensive care nurses prepare to

Respiratory therapist Julie Medeiros, middle, and intensive care nurses put together to “prone” a affected person on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. ICU nurses susceptible, or flip, a affected person on their abdomen or again each two hours to permit higher enlargement of the lungs, in the end resulting in improved oxygenation of the blood. “We’re doing this a lot,” Medeiros says. “You need a number of people to help turn patients.”
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

A patient lies on their stomach in the intensive care unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

A affected person lies on their abdomen within the intensive care unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

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A nurse cleans a affected person’s mouth contained in the intensive care unit. Travel nurse Thu Nguyen catches her breath contained in the ICU unit. Nurses are required to put on PPE for hours at a time whereas working with sufferers, typically inflicting bruises or scars round their eyes and nostril.
A nurse cleans a affected person’s mouth contained in the intensive care unit. Travel nurse Thu Nguyen catches her breath contained in the ICU unit. Nurses are required to put on PPE for hours at a time whereas working with sufferers, typically inflicting bruises or scars round their eyes and nostril.
A nurse cleans a affected person’s mouth contained in the intensive care unit. Travel nurse Thu Nguyen catches her breath contained in the ICU unit. Nurses are required to put on PPE for hours at a time whereas working with sufferers, typically inflicting bruises or scars round their eyes and nostril.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY
Dr. Marwa Kilani, a hospice and palliative medicine specialist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, does a video call with a patient's daughter on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. She is responsible for updating families on her patients' conditions because no visitors are allowed during the pandemic. "It's traumatic to hear families on the other end, tearful and crying," Kilani said. "COVID is a whole different beast and we've had to jump in and move forward as best we can."

Dr. Marwa Kilani, a hospice and palliative drugs specialist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, does a video name with a affected person’s daughter on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. She is liable for updating households on her sufferers’ situations as a result of no guests are allowed throughout the pandemic. “It’s traumatic to hear families on the other end, tearful and crying,” Kilani mentioned. “COVID is a whole different beast and we’ve had to jump in and move forward as best we can.”
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

The sun beams across medical supplies in an intensive care room on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The solar beams throughout medical provides in an intensive care room on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Chaplain Kevin Deegan spends his days checking on the health and well-being of patients and staff at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. Chaplains

Chaplain Kevin Deegan spends his days checking on the health and well-being of sufferers and employees at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. Chaplains “are well-integrated into the life of the hospital,” Deegan mentioned. “As a chaplain, it’s my job to offer emotional and spiritual support, to be a compassionate presence, to be a supportive presence.”
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Chaplain Kevin Deegan prays with a patient on the COVID floor at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

Chaplain Kevin Deegan prays with a affected person on the COVID flooring at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. “I never expected to become an expert in offering care during a pandemic,” Deegan mentioned. “I find myself becoming more vulnerable; I’m more compassionate.”
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Chaplain Kevin Deegan holds a patient's hand while praying with her on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, on the COVID floor at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. "I'll never be afraid of donning PPE to go and sit and hold the patient's hand, to brush their hair with my hand, to lay my hands on them and pray with them," Deegan said. "Fear is not a part of the care that I'm offering anymore."

Chaplain Kevin Deegan holds a affected person’s hand whereas praying with her on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, on the COVID flooring at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles. “I’ll never be afraid of donning PPE to go and sit and hold the patient’s hand, to brush their hair with my hand, to lay my hands on them and pray with them,” Deegan mentioned. “Fear is not a part of the care that I’m offering anymore.”
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

Kevin Deegan, chaplain at Providence Holy Cross
“There are those moments of strength, those times where we find ourselves digging down deep to reservoirs of strength that we didn’t know we had.”

Each day at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, Chaplin Kevin Deegan passes through a hallway filled with glass windows to get to the COVID unit, as he does pictured on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Outside the windows is a message thanking hospital staff for their work.

Each day at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, Chaplin Kevin Deegan passes by way of a hallway stuffed with glass home windows to get to the COVID unit, as he does pictured on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Outside the home windows is a message thanking hospital employees for his or her work.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY


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