The idea for Nurses’ Hands was born several years ago as I looked at pictures of nurses in Mexico trying to care for patients in a hastily erected tent “hospital,” after the brick and mortar hospital collapsed in an earthquake. I wanted to find a way to support other nurses when natural or man-made disasters caused incredible challenges. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I never found the time to do more than talk about this.
It seems appropriate to launch this organization today. Today, on April 6, 2020 as worldwide cases of COVID-19 exceed 1,347,676 and deaths due to this global pandemic exceed 74,744.
Today, where in the U. S. confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 364,567 with 10,841 Americans already dead.
Today, as unmet equipment needs require that one ventilator is being used simultaneously for two patients, while other patients less likely to survive are provided end of life care, as there are not enough ventilators for all in need.
Today, as tent field hospitals are being erected in major cities throughout the U. S. to create the extra beds that nurses will need to care for a massive influx of critically ill patients with COVID-19. Unfortunately, there is no magical way to create the volume of nurses needed to care for those patients as quickly.
Today, as I see a nurse in New York, New York hold up a hand lettered sign written on a piece of cardboard that says: “who will take care of you when we are dead?”
On the television screen before me I am watching nurses who have worked 12 to 16 hour shifts day after day and week after week protesting outside of their hospital. They are taking time away from desperately needed sleep to get this message out. These nurses and physicians are protesting due to a lack of paper based personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators and disposable gowns. Products that could have been made quickly and easily if actions had been taken shortly after the future course of this deadly viral pandemic was apparent.
Now, on May 3, 2020 (not quite 1 month after this site was launched) there have been 3,485,948 confirmed COVID-19 cases in human beings worldwide (compared to 1,347,676 on April 6th) and 246,126 deaths (compared to 74,744). United States confirmed cases at this moment are recorded as 1,149,197 (compared to 364,567 a month ago) with the death toll at 67,200 (compared to 10,841).* By the time I finish writing this these numbers will be higher.
This organization is dedicated to nurses worldwide who are providing love-filled supportive care to patients with COVID-19 at the front lines of this battle with an invisible enemy.
*Source: Johns Hopkins University and Medicine (2020). Coronavirus Resource Center. Retrieved from: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html