Nurses’ Hands is an international association for nurses. The organization is FREE to join. As we grow we will have advertisers to help defray the costs.
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.
This site was launched on April 6, 2020 as worldwide cases of COVID-19 was at 1,347,676 and deaths due to this global pandemic at 74,744.
On April 6, 2020, there were only 364,567 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 10,841 Americans already dead.
By April, unmet equipment needs sometimes meant that one ventilator might be used simultaneously for two patients, while other patients less likely to survive were provided end of life care, as there were not enough ventilators for all in need.
Tent field hospitals were being erected in major cities throughout the U. S. to create the extra beds that nurses would need to care for a massive influx of critically ill patients with COVID-19. Unfortunately, there was no magical way to create the volume of nurses needed to care for those patients as quickly as the structures were built.
In New York, New York where the situation in April was horrendous a nurse standing in front of a hospital held up a hand lettered sign written on a piece of cardboard that said: “who will take care of you when we are dead?”
As I watched the news on TV in April, while the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, nurses and other healthcare providers who had worked 12 to 16 hour shifts day after day and week after week were protesting outside of their hospital. These nurses were taking time away from desperately needed sleep to protest due to the lack of paper based personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators and disposable gowns. These products could have been made quickly and easily if actions had been taken shortly after the course of this deadly viral pandemic was apparent. Lack of adequate PPE has put patients and healthcare providers at risk, and contributed to the death of healthcare providers.
On May 3, 2020 (not quite 1 month after this site was launched) there were 3,485,948 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide (compared to 1,347,676 on April 6th) and 246,126 deaths (compared to 74,744). United States confirmed cases at that moment were recorded as 1,149,197.*
When I updated this on October 25, 2020, the response of the United States government was deplorable. Wearing a mask to prevent droplet and possibly airborne transmission to others and social distancing were political issues for people who do not understand that this virus is lethal. At that time, the U.S. had 4% of the world’s population and 21% of global deaths. As of October 25th, 225,067 Americans were dead and 8,607,419 had tested positive for COVID-19. Case-fatality rates in the individual U.S. states were ranging from 2 to 8% (Connecticut). Worldwide there had been 1,152,065 deaths and 42,855,971 infections.* This represents a case-fatality rate of approximately 2.6%.
In the U.S., September and October were filled with pre-election super spreader political rallies and various other large events held throughout the country by COVID-19 deniers. Despite the pleas of exhausted nurses, physicians and other health care providers, these people refused to wear masks and socially distance and the result is a massive surge in confirmed cases, significant morbidity and deaths that could have been prevented. We expect that winter, flu season, upcoming major holidays, COVID-19 fatigue, and an increase in indoor activities will extract a heavy toll for the next four to five months.
As of November 19, 2020 over 1,396 American healthcare providers had already died of COVID-19.** The number of confirmed cases is now nearing 12 million and 252,514 Americans are dead. A total of 1,848 deaths were recorded for November 18th* The United States has the dubious distinction of leading the world in COVID-19 cases.*
Hospitals are already filled to capacity in many areas of the country and dead bodies are stacked inside refrigerated trucks that are serving as temporary morgues, because funeral homes cannot keep up with the volume of bodies. Patients who are very high risk, with active COVID-19 pneumonia, ground glass opacities on CT scan indicative of significant alveolar damage, and asymptomatic hypoxemia are being cared for in their homes so there are beds available for the most critically ill patients.
This organization is dedicated to nurses and other healthcare providers worldwide who are providing supportive care to patients with COVID-19 at the front lines of the battle with this invisible enemy. One day this will be over and we will be left with the PTSD. Let’s join together to send light and love to each other now and as we move toward a brighter future.
*Source for COVID-19 infections, deaths and case-fatality rates: Johns Hopkins University and Medicine (2020). Coronavirus Resource Center. Retrieved from: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
**The Staff of Kaiser Health News and the Guardian (2020). Lost on the Frontline. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2020/aug/11/lost-on-the-frontline-covid-19-coronavirus-us-healthcare-workers-deaths-database