N.Y.C.’s 911 System Is Overwhelmed. ‘I’m Terrified,’ a Paramedic Says.
With coronavirus cases mounting, emergency workers are making life-or-death decisions about who goes to a hospital, and who is left behind.
This is just heartbreaking.
“The growing pandemic has tested paramedics physically and mentally, said Anthony Almojera, an E.M.S. lieutenant for the Fire Department who said he cried on the job for the first time in his 17-year career.
He and his team had responded to a cardiac arrest dispatch for a middle-age woman, a health care worker, who had been infected. When paramedics arrived at her home, the woman’s husband, who was also a health care worker, said she had been sick for five days.
The husband frantically explained that he had tried to stay home and tend to his ill wife, but his employer had asked him to work because their facility was overrun with coronavirus patients.
Grudgingly, the man told the medics, he went to work. When he returned home after his shift that day, he found her unconscious in their bed. For 35 minutes, Mr. Almojera’s team tried to revive the woman, but she could not be saved.
Usually, Mr. Almojera said, he tries to console family members who have lost a loved one by putting his arm around them or giving them a hug.
But because the husband was also thought to be infected with the coronavirus, Mr. Almojera delivered the bad news from six feet away. He watched the man pound on his car with his fist and then crumble to the ground.
“I’m sitting there, beside myself, and I can’t do anything except be at this distance with him,” Mr. Almojera said. “So, we left him.””Posted on 2020-03-29T03:44:42+0000