A Sacramento, California, nurse fueled by her faith has volunteered to go to New York to help tend to the critically ill coronavirus patients in that state.
Ann Nichols, a retired nurse from UC Davis Medical Center, is part of a small group of volunteers with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, a faith-based organization consisting of nurses giving life-saving care to coronavirus in the U.S.’s hardest-hit area.
“This is a very frightening disease,” Nichols told KCRA. “There is no family when they are sick. And if they die, they are doing that alone in the hospitals — sometimes just found on the gurneys because they are so overwhelmed but there’s nobody there. Nobody dies alone here.”
Over the past week, volunteers from Graham’s organization have been putting up tents in New York City’s Central Park to build a makeshift field hospital to take in overflow patients from Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Shelly Kelly of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is also volunteering for Samaritan’s Purse in New York City. She said she is working in the intensive care unit for patients experiencing breathing problems.
“It’s just intense,” Kelly said. “A lot of people coming in. I think we have over 40, right now.”
“We’re holding hands with every patient,” Nichols said. “We’re praying with and over every patient. I can’t tell you how many patients reach out and hold my hand. Will you pray for me? They’re scared.”
Both Nichols and Kelly expect to be around New York City for most of April.
New York State has 138,863 diagnosed cases of the virus, with 7,034 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon. In New York City alone, there are 77,967 cases and 4,111 fatalities from the virus.