Notes from the Front Line: The ICU in Flushing, Queens

Hyunsoo No, M.D.'19
Hyunsoo No, M.D.’19, at Match Day 2019

Written by Hyunsoo No, M.D.’19

After graduating from the Larner College of Medicine last May, Hyunsoo No, M.D.’19, headed to Flushing Hospital Medical Center in New York City for a preliminary medicine rotation prior to radiation oncology residency training at Stanford. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City, he found himself at the front line. Twitter has been a way for him to share news, connect, and thank colleagues – on April 4 he tweeted: “We were able to get another person off a ventilator this morning as our shift was ending! Just our third thus far but after these rough few weeks, it feels so great to finally share some good news with families!” And on March 19: “To all the friends and family reaching out to check in, thank you! Working in the ICU throughout this has been trying but happy to be a part of a team working so hard to help those in need. Looking forward to seeing all these people discharged home!!”

Read more about No’s experiences in Flushing:

These past few weeks certainly has been unexpectedly tough. Not only with the unknowns of how to combat coronavirus and how to help our patients, but the sadness of seeing patient after patient pass and seeing their families torn apart. It’s been heart breaking, having to call families in the middle of the night to share unthinkable news, knowing they are unable to see their loved ones one last time due to visitation restrictions.

Additionally, in our hospital, more and more residents, nurses, and physicians were getting sick, leading to further under-staffing alongside a huge surge in the number of patients coming in. Atop of all that was the underlying fear of bringing all this home and getting our loved ones sick.

However, as with most things that are difficult, it began to ease up. Things are beginning to turn around. While people are still dying, the urgency and sheer volume has reduced. We are now discharging those patients who came in the initial surge and playing cheerful music when they get to go home, announcing it over our loudspeakers.

Our residents and physicians are coming back to work, and there’s a small glimpse of normalcy. I recognize this is not yet over, and there is talk there may be another wave of this arriving, but it’s nice to be able to help reduce this burden, even just a little bit.

What are your thoughts about this topic?