FORT WORTH, Texas — National Nurses Week gives us a chance, especially now, to recognize and thank the medical professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. And the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control indicate just how dedicated those medical professionals can be.
From February to April, the CDC estimates that 9,282 doctors and nurses contracted COVID-19. In that same time frame, the deaths of 27 medical professionals are blamed on coronavirus.
Even so, first year nurses like Megan Frey at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, working in a unit with COVID-positive patients, remain dedicated to the profession.
"It's always worrisome," she said of concerns about COVID-19. "Are we ready for it? What's to expect? We don't know. We're all bracing for impact."
But while Fort Worth has not seen the dramatic numbers that New York and other U.S. cities have, she says medical teams are ready to take the same calculated and heavily-protected risks.
"Most nursing staff, physicians, NP's, they wouldn't be doing what they're doing unless they loved it. And that's what it really comes down to," Frey said. "You see the teamwork. You can't do it without the team. And I think that has really been cool to watch no matter where you are."
"I know what it's like to be in the midst of that kind of battle," said Estella Cortez, a volunteer at Medical City Dallas.
Her husband husband Jose Montalvo lost his battle with cancer in 2015. Ever since, she's delivered gift boxes in his memory, to every patient on the same oncology floor at Medical City Dallas where he received treatment.
The gift of books, cards and games helps pass the time while the patients are isolated during chemotherapy and other treatments.
Those patients, with the current coronavirus threat, are even more quarantined now, in many cases even unable to receive visits from family.
So Friday morning, Cortez is delivering gift bags, heavily sterilized and inspected by hospital staff, to each of the 60 patients on the oncology floor. And this time she will be delivering gifts to the doctors and nurses as well.
"They are exemplifying all of those qualities of a hero," Cortez said. "Courage and strength and selflessness to get up and go to work every day to serve others."
And one more nurse to mention. She is a rabid Dallas Cowboys fan and an ICU and trauma nurse in Southern California treating coronavirus patients. Her name is Charla. And as a proud big brother, Kevin Reece, believes she deserves a shout out too.
So on this week of all weeks, thank a nurse for what they do. And thank them or the life they risk to save yours.