In Florida Hospitals, Lessons Learned From More Than 3,300 Deaths

Jun 27, 2020

Respiratory therapist Joan Norell starts her day at Westside Regional Hospital in Plantation by checking the oxygen level of the patients in the coronavirus ward where she may tend to as many as 10 a day or more.

“Every day will be different,” Norell said. “If they need breathing treatments, I will have to deal with that. If someone is critical, I am there next to the doctor, assisting with ventilation.”

It’s so much better than it was three months ago. “Patient after patient would say ‘don’t let me die.' " As she battled to help them keep an open airway, some did die. Now, losing a patient to the virus happens less often. “We know so much more,” Norell said.

As Florida infections hit new highs in recent days and patients again flood into local hospitals, nurses like Norell bring three months’ experience to the fight. The lessons learned from more than 3,300 deaths now guide the health response to a mysterious virus that may still be in its infancy.

Read more at our news partner the South Florida Sun Sentinel.