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NYC Nurse Says He’s Not Scared: ‘I Am Only Doing My Job’ For COVID-19 Patients

Before the lethal coronavirus hit New York, Francisco Díaz’s job as a gerontological nurse practitioner was educating seniors on managing their diabetes. Now, he’s on the coronary heart of the pandemic, working in a New York City emergency room.

“I have worked during the influenza outbreaks, the swine flu, but never a public health threat of this dimension,” stated Díaz. April eight was “one of the hardest days” at his hospital, Mount Sinai West, he instructed KHN. Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced practically 800 folks within the state died that day from COVID-19, the illness brought on by the novel coronavirus.

Francisco Díaz, a gerontological nurse practitioner, is working within the emergency division at Mount Sinai West hospital in New York City through the coronavirus disaster and says his fluency in Spanish turns out to be useful for Hispanic sufferers and their apprehensive households. It is, he says, “very important to offer them information about their loved ones, in a language they can understand.”

“I am tending to a lot of Latino patients with COVID,” he stated. In New York City,  more Hispanics have been killed by the virus than whites, Asians or African Americans who should not Hispanic, preliminary knowledge from metropolis well being officers reveals.

Díaz identified that a lot of his Hispanic sufferers cannot afford to stop working and face the next threat of contracting the coronavirus.

His capacity to talk Spanish and understanding of Latino tradition make it simpler for him to attach with these sufferers and their households, Díaz stated. “For Latinos, it is particularly difficult because with COVID-19 the patient care is more impersonal,” he stated. “We can’t touch the patient, get too close. That is why talking to the family is very important, to offer them information about their loved ones, in a language they can understand.”

There are 276,000 Latino nurses within the United States, accounting for 10% of the well being workforce “despite the fact that Hispanics are 30% of the population,” stated Norma Cuellar, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.

Díaz was born in New York City as his household took shelter there from the 1965 civil warfare within the Dominican Republic. After the warfare ended, his household moved again to Santo Domingo, the place he grew up. At age 25, he moved to New York to pursue a profession in well being care.

On regular days, Díaz works with seniors at Mount Sinai Morningside on Manhattan’s Upper West Side whereas finding out to earn his doctorate in nursing.

But through the coronavirus disaster, he has been transferred about 60 blocks south to Mount Sinai West. Now, relying on the day, he’s in command of eight to 12 ER sufferers with signs of COVID-19. Díaz accompanies them if they’ve any checks run, administers drugs and takes their very important indicators. He additionally helps describe the method to sufferers ― in Spanish, if that’s their most well-liked language ― and, though he spends solely a short while with every one, tries to maintain them comfy.

“Nurses have a very direct link with the patient,” he stated.

During the epidemic, he stated, he has been working with sufferers ranging in age from 21 to over 90. Afterward, he typically doesn’t know the way they fared.

“I am not working in the ICU,” he stated. “I don’t have to see some of them die.”

Díaz stated he’s cautious in his work and anxious to ensure he doesn’t deliver dwelling the virus that might damage his husband. Every evening, instantly after arriving dwelling, he removes all his garments and goes straight to the bathe. He stated his outlook is optimistic: “I am 54, but I am healthy, I do not have preexisting conditions.”

“People ask me more than ever if I am scared,” he stated. “I am not. I am only doing my job.”

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