Friday, May 1, 2020

‘Our worst day’: The fight to treat patients, keep staffed

Capri Reese, photographed by Ashlee Rezin Garcia

Having teamed up successfully to report on battling the COVID-19 pandemic at Mount Sinai Hospital, photographer Ashlee Rezin Garcia suggested we try a different locale, and Roseland Community Hospital on the far South Side graciously invited us in. Ashlee not only took the photos, but used her keen eye to gather key on-the-scene details — I conducted interviews and wrote the piece. We share a byline in the paper.

     Capri Reese can’t go home. Not unless she finds someone to step into her shoes.
     “All of a sudden we’re down five staff in one day,” said the 12-year veteran nurse at Roseland Community Hospital, who Tuesday had to track down coworkers on their day off and get them to the hospital, in addition to all her usual duties.
     “I see patients, treat patients, respond to codes, rapid response, intubate, order tests, write prescriptions,” Reese said. “All of those things, and I’m also covering for the CNO — the chief nursing officer.”
     Five holes in a 14-person staff, including someone to do her job after her 12-hour shift. Those are very big charm-studded Crocs to fill.
     “It’s a juggling thing, like a rolling puzzle, every day,” she said. “People who don’t usually call off are calling off.”
     Why? Exhaustion, stress, ailments like the ordinary flu, plus absences related to COVID-19 — battling it themselves, caring for a relation who is, or watching their children because daycare centers are closed.
     Against those obstacles, Reese has only her considerable charm.
     “Strap that S on your chest and come in,” Reese said over the phone to a triage tech.
He agreed.

To continue reading, click here.


  1. Sad, scary, stunning. Brilliant work on both your parts here. Bravo.

  2. Great story, masterfully told. The photo comes off so much better here on the blog than it does in the paper; not sure if that's fixable.


    1. Agree. Great story. Picture much better here.

  3. Horrifying and inspiring. Now balance this reality with the lies and BS coming from Heir Furher, Jared K, Mike P and the rest of those creatures.
    Evil does not even begin to describe them.

  4. Wow. Reminds me to stop feeling sorry for my own not-bad-at-all situation. Capri deserves the highest praise. Thank you.


  5. should be required reading by people like the Greek guy at the Tribune, whose column supporting the protesters included the statement that the virus is dangerous but not as much as we've been told. Deaths in the tens of thousands instead of the millions.

    Having exceeded my four score and ten I have to accept the prospect of dying, but COVID 19 doesn't seem to offer an easy way to shuffle off the old mortal coil: strugling for breath, cut off from family and friends, attended by poorly paid and overworked medical personnel who can offer mainly palliative care.


    1. Not sure, but I believe you mean "three score and ten," don't you, TE? Perhaps you've been consulting Lincoln in these precarious times... Or perhaps you're a different Tom than the EGD quotation wrangler. Either way, if you're over 90, good for you! ; )

      This should be required reading for the Greek guy, and everybody else, as well. I can't imagine 12-hour shifts like the one described. (Or even going in to report on the situation, for that matter.) So grateful that there are folks like Ms. Reese on the front lines of this battle. And journalists who so capably tell us about them.


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