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COVID-19 Crisis: Healthcare Heroes Share Raw Emotions

COVID-19 Crisis: Healthcare Heroes Share Raw Emotions | Nicole Van Groningen, MD

As New Year Approaches, Physician and Nurses Plead for Los Angeles Residents to Follow COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and Avoid Crowds

As the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has plunged the region's healthcare systems into a crisis, a Cedars-Sinai physician and nurses pleaded for Los Angeles residents to follow pandemic safety guidelines in a series of videos released today.

Nicole Van Groningen, MD, said that with New Year's Eve approaching, she understands that many residents were looking forward to traveling, or gathering with friends and family, but warned against doing so.

"Even if you feel well, even if your friends and your family feel well, we know that the reason this disease has spread the way that it has is because people without any symptoms can still have the disease and they can spread it to other people," Van Groningen said. "So the kindest thing that you can do for yourself and your community, and everyone here at the hospital, especially all our sick patients, is to please stay home."


Said a tearful Latoya Senior, RN, "If you don't know, things are pretty bad. Things are really bad. We're overwhelmed. We're stressed. We're stretched so thin, it's pretty unimaginable."


COVID-19 Crisis: Healthcare Heroes Share Raw Emotions | Scott Brickner, BSN

Intensive Care Unit Nurse Charlotte Guevarra echoed Senior's sentiments. She said she's been caring for critically ill patients since the beginning of the pandemic.

With ICUs at or above capacity across the state, "we are admitting patients faster than we discharge them," Guevarra said. "In this battle, we are so outnumbered."

Scott Brickner, BSN, said he understands that people may be tired of hearing these messages, but they bear repeating.

"I know that it's everyone has COVID fatigue out there in the public, and I know that in your head, this is some far-off problem, but we're here seeing it firsthand," Brickner said. "And so if there's any precaution I could ask you to do, it’s please stay with us and follow the guidelines. Mask up. … Help us be here for you if you ever need us."

COVID-19 Crisis: Healthcare Heroes Share Raw Emotions | Olena Svetlov, RN

Olena Svetlov, RN, agreed.

"In the ICU, we are creating spacess out of nowhere," Svetlov said. "If somebody breaks a leg, we are literally that close to not having any space at all to care for your loved one...Just think about others and please be at home." 

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Navigating the Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic