|Nurses are undoubtedly on the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. Here are excerpts from a letter that Chinese nurses from Wuhan sent to The Lancet:
The conditions and environment here in Wuhan are more difficult and extreme than we could ever have imagined…Due to the need for frequent hand washing, several of our colleagues’ hands are covered in painful rashes. As a result of wearing an N95 respirator for extended periods of time and layers of protective equipment, some nurses now have pressure ulcers on their ears and foreheads….In order to save energy and the time it takes to put on and take off protective clothing, we avoid eating and drinking for two hours before entering the isolation ward. Often, nurses’ mouths are covered in blisters. Some nurses have fainted due to hypoglycaemia and hypoxia…In addition to the physical exhaustion, we are also suffering psychologically. While we are professional nurses we are also human. Like everyone else, we feel helplessness, anxiety, and fear…
In an article in The New York Times on February 26, 2020, entitled “Shaved Heads, Adult Diapers: Life As a Nurse in the Coronavirus Outbreak,” Nurse Zhang Wendan reports that she has cut her hair short for personal hygiene and convenience. Chinese state media has called female medical workers who shave their heads “the most beautiful warriors” fighting the outbreak. Ms. Zhang says that it’s difficult to find time during the day to go to the bathroom, let alone deal with menstruation while wearing full-body protective suits, so nurses are wearing adult diapers during their shifts! She says: “I worry about being infected, I miss home.” Her mother cooks meals for her and leaves them on the sidewalk outside her home where Ms. Zhang picks them up. Her mother watches her do so from a safe distance.
There you have it: reports from the current front lines!
If predictions are correct, the virus is likely to spread around the world, including the United States. Nurses everywhere will be on the front lines helping patients just like nurses in China are doing now. Our gratitude to nurses everywhere knows no bounds!
©2020 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved