Frontline healthcare workers share pandemic work experience

TAMU-CC students Elaine Trancoso and Amanda Martinez report working 24-36 hours a week at Corpus Christi’s Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital, while balancing full time classes.

Bryan Tumlinson

TAMU-CC students Elaine Trancoso and Amanda Martinez report working 24-36 hours a week at Corpus Christi’s Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital, while balancing full time classes.

Karina Garcia, Reporter

It has been nearly six months since the first coronavirus lockdowns went into place, and while experts are recommending people continue to social distance and avoid large gatherings, some college students around the country are returning to campus with other plans in mind. However, at Corpus Christi’s Christus Spohn Shoreline Hospital, healthcare workers are advising everyone to take precaution.

TAMU-CC first year nursing student and part-time medical scribe Elaine Trancoso described working on the Covid-19 floor as intense, nerve wrecking and emotional, “Some of the patients we have had been intubated for weeks and very few of them recover. My first day working on this floor we had three code blues in the span of three hours, and they were all different patients.”

Facing harsh realities every day, Trancoso said as healthcare workers they do everything they can for their patients. However when nothing else can be done they are left to resort to comfort care.

“It’s heartbreaking hearing the phone calls between a dying patient and their loved ones saying their final goodbyes, it’s awful seeing them in pain with tubes and wires connected to them daily with the likelihood of no recovery,” said Amanda Martinez, a TAMU-CC nursing student and medical scribe.

Moreover, Trancoso and Martinez explain that they take every precaution when coming home. “I make sure I sanitize my phone, keys, wallet or anything that I took to the hospital. I try to limit what I take to work to a minimum because the less things I have, the less microorganisms I bring home,” said Trancoso.

Almost immediately after arriving home, Trancoso leaves her shoes outside in Lysol, jumps into the shower, places her clothes in a bag and hopes for the best. “I always fear bringing the virus home because I would hate for any of my friends or family to have this virus and especially if I put them at risk,” said Trancoso.

Meanwhile, Martinez emphasizes the use and practice of hand washing, hand sanitizer, social distancing and face masks. However, the usage of face masks has caused recent controversy, something Martinez does not take lightly. “This honestly angers me. How is wearing a protective cover that is used to not only help yourself but also to help others a violation of your rights?” Said Martinez “If anything it’s enforcing those rights, protecting you and everyone else,”

Martinez also comments on the recent use of the slogan “my body, my choice.” A statement commonly used for women’s rights and advocacy. Recently, it has been used by some anti-face masks groups.

“In a way saying ‘my body, my choice’ through means of disregarding a global pandemic belittles a larger problem women have dealt with, pre, during and post pandemic,” Martinez adds.

Regardless, the number of positive cases in the United States continues to rise.However, according to the World Health organization (WHO), the steroid dexamethasone “can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.” As for Corpus Christi, the Nueces county coronavirus page reports that 133 patients are currently hospitalized with 61 of them in the ICU. Out of the 19,050 cases, 16,003 have recovered.

“I just think if everyone does their part by staying home and doing their part by wearing their mask, we can probably go back to normal soon,” adds Trancoso.