Two frontline caregivers describe the realities of working in a hospital in LA County during the most recent surge in COVID-19 patients. The death toll has been unprecedented.
Against a backdrop of COVID-19 denialism and super-spreader events, Dr. Zahra Esmail and social worker Christina Rothans have been treating a recent surge of patients with their colleagues in the South Bay of Los Angeles.
The two serve on one of the in-house palliative care teams at the Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. They are responsible for the care of the very sickest patients.
The hospital's census of COVID-19-positive patients has climbed steadily for the past two months to heretofore unseen levels. All of the COVID-19 patients have been isolated from their families and many, despite the best efforts of their caregivers, have succumbed to the ravages of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
And despite bracing for what they knew was coming, neither Dr. Esmail nor Ms. Rothans felt fully prepared for the scale of loss they have experienced this winter in LA County.