The chief of nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital in the South Bay said now is as serious as it gets as the hospital braces for a possible rush of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.
Mark Brown, a former Army medic and current chief nursing officer at the hospital, likens the setup at Good Samaritan to a mobile army surgical hospital.
“I’ve been in mass casualty incidents before — most of that was around trauma — but as far as a pandemic in this situation, yeah, that’s pretty close to what it’s like,” he said.
Anywhere from five to 35 patients suspected of having the novel coronavirus are moved into brown tents at the hospital every day.
Brown said the battle is different than what he witnessed before because in the military he could see the enemy. In this pandemic, the enemy is invisible.
“It is a little different when you’re not exactly sure where it’s coming from,” he said. “It’s a very different thing when you’re in a wartime situation where you can see the enemy and something like this when it is a coronavirus.”
For privacy reasons, Good Samaritan cannot say how many positive COVID-19 patients it's treating at the moment. But there’s no hiding the stress level. Technicians check the temperatures of everyone coming in. Only one family member is allowed in the emergency room with a patient.
With a possible surge in patients looming, nurses are reminding people to stay at home.