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VCU Health workers open up about front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

"It just breaks my heart that some of these people might die alone."
Posted at 11:14 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 11:14:57-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- VCU Health workers are opening up about what it's like to be on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb ahead of Thanksgiving, VCU Health launched a public service campaign to give the community a behind-the-scenes look at the impact of surging COVID-19 cases on front-line doctors and nurses.

In a 5-munite video, health care workers share the emotional and physical challenges of caring for coronavirus patients.

"For some reason, if people haven't been personally impacted by it, its easy to think that isn't a big deal and even in some cases, that it doesn't exist," said Dr. Lisa Brath, medical director of respiratory care services and medical director of the Unique Pathogens Unit at VCU Health.

"To have only one visitor come be at the bedside of a loved one when you have a family of four and eight. These are their last memories... To deny that out of an abundance safety, it's an unbelievable tug of war of moral distress," said Audrey Robinson, a registered nurse in the medical respiratory ICU.

"It just breaks my heart that some of these people might die alone in their rooms," said Joy Wolf, a registered nurse in the COVID-19 ICU.

Workers also talked about their fears of contracting the virus while at work and bringing it home to their families.

"My biggest fear, and I'm sure this is a lot of people's fear, I would hate to be the one that spread it to all the people I love," Wolf added.

The video concludes with a call to action for the community.

“We have a great team here. We need the community to be a part of [our] team,” said Dr. Brath. “There are a lot of families who are going to have an empty chair at the table this holiday season. We can’t do this without a lot of help. Wear a mask.”

You can watch the full video above.