The heroes during the COVID-19 crisis are not actors, athletes, but are those who have been continuing to work to help.
One of the greatest groups that people are acknowledging as heroes are those nurses and doctors, who every day are right in the throes of the virus and risking their own health to see to the needs of those suffering from the virus.
John Gartin is a registered nurse, paramedic, EMT and has been in the medical field for more than 30 years, but in a three-week period, he saw and lived such tragic health issues that he said he had never experienced. Gartin was one of those nurses who went to New York City to help with their overwhelming amount of coronavirus patients. Gartin is originally from Scioto County and had lived here most of his life until he recently moved to Columbus to work at a drug rehab to assist those who are struggling with drug addiction.
Gartin worked in New York for a period of 23 days. He and another nurse friend both went at the same time. Gartin shared that there were four of them at first, but only those two stayed the entire 23 days. He said that he could tell after he arrived in New York, those who went for the money, and those who went because they felt they were needed. The ones who went for the money did not stay and those true blood nurses who care for others so much were the ones who stuck it out and stayed.
Gartin was hesitant, but forthright one what the nurses experienced while they were in New York. He said that contrary to what has been said by many, they did not have enough supplies, not only that but that they did not have enough of the medical things that they needed to treat the patients such as medicine, tubing and especially vents that were so in need. He said that he alone had to work with the same mask for five days straight.
The nurses, once they arrived in New York, worked straight 12-hour shifts with no days off, until the 15th day, which they called a recovery type day that Gartin said everyone took because they were so exhausted. Gartin said that they were driven to the hospitals that they worked at and then taken home also, so that made their workdays, a total of 14-hour days. He said that basically all they did was work, eat, rest and then start all over again.
Gartin shared there were days when the lack of needed medical supplies they would have to choose between patients who looked like they were more likely to survive over someone who may not make it as far as who got the needed supply.
“It was devastatingly heartbreaking and not like anything I have ever experienced in my life,” Gartin said.
One of the things that he said he still cannot believe he went through, nor did he ever think he would go through.
“I had to on one day alone, put 14 people in a body bag. And not only that, we would then put them in the refrigerated trucks that has been said by many did not really exist,” Gartin said. “Nothing can compare to what days like that were.”
Gartin also discussed the tole it took on the doctors and nurses there in New York. He himself experienced the sore ears and across the face. Luckily, he said that toward the end of his stay, someone sent him a shield and that it helped tremendously. Then Gartin said that the mental anguish these medical people have to endure can at times be overwhelming, and yet these heroes continued to work to help others who could not help themselves, even when it put their own health at risk, and possible the health of their own families, if they would happen to carry the virus home.
Gartin was asked if he would do this again if it were needed, “Absolutely, if they would again get a rise in cases, I would go because I know how much I would be needed.”
Gartin said he would do it again because of his life, when he was younger people reached out and helped him so he could become the man he is now and he wanted to give back by helping people, just like people helped him in his life.
Gartin is not the only one either, he said there were so many nurses that were just like him and worked to help just like he did, and he really appreciated them too. He is now at home in self-quarantine for seven days and if he shows no symptoms or fever will be able to go out, and if not, he will stay in quarantine for another seven days.
Gartin said even as governments begin to start easing the stay at home orders, he hopes the American people don’t just quit protecting themselves and others they may come in contact with. He said he knew that people have heard it repeatedly, to wash your hands. He said to remember to wash up your wrists even if you wear gloves. He said he is not in favor of people wearing gloves, because they unfortunately, spread the virus more than just your bare hands and washing immediately after you have been somewhere where others have been such as stores or other such places. He said that he hopes we continue to wear masks for some time to come and believe 6 feet is not enough that 12 or more feet distance would be even better.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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