The shifts are long and the scenes are heartbreaking inside a Maryland hospital where nurses and doctors have been treating coronavirus patients for weeks, unable to let family inside to visit loved ones on their death beds.
One of the hardest moments of a recent work day for registered nurse Julia Trainor was intubating a patient, and then calling the patient's husband so he could talk to his wife. He was not allowed in the hospital.
"I had to put him on the phone and hold the phone to her ear as he told her that he loved her so much, and then I had to wipe away her tears," says Trainor, who works in a surgical intensive care unit. "I'm used to seeing very sick patients and I'm used to patients dying, but nothing quite like this."
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The highly infectious COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus has infected more than 580,000 people across the United States and killed nearly 24,000.
In Maryland, where residents have been ordered to stay at home since March 30 to stem the spread of the disease, around 9,000 have tested positive for the virus and more than 260 have died.
After finishing what for many was a more than 12-hour shift, some nurses and doctors at one hospital shared with Reuters the hardest moments of their days. The hospital asked that it not be named.
The medical workers agreed that one of the toughest parts of the job - more than the exhausting schedule or adjusting to work in a new unit - was witnessing the toll on patients and families.
Meghan Sheehan, 27, a nurse practitioner, says she drives home each night without turning on the radio and uses the quiet time to reflect on her shift and her patients. When she gets home, she tries hard not to dwell on the day.
"I go home, I shower immediately and try to have dinner with family, and try to not talk about it," she said.
"Nighttime is definitely the hardest because you're constantly thinking about what the next day will bring."
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING Gabriella Borter; TEXT EDITING ROSALBA O'BRIEN; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE