ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic staffers are giving the community a look behind the curtain as they continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
A paramedic with Mayo Clinic Ambulance, a critical care nurse, a respiratory therapist and an infectious disease nurse are all sharing their experiences.
Critical care nurse Amy Spitzner says she's never seen it this bad as patients can seem to be fine one day and then they're on a ventilator the next.
Despite some patients needing, and receiving, the maximum amount of support Spitzner says it's still not enough.
She said, "Their bodies still give out and they still die in front of us without their families. We're their only physical touch
that they have when they're leaving this world it's really hard to watch."
Respiratory therapist Desirae Cogswell says it's hard to lose patients and not take those emotions home and find ways to decompress.
"I think we go home sometimes wondering and kind of doubting our own skills and our own abilities and that's something you fight with," said Cogswell. "Is there more we could be doing?"
Infectious disease nurse Traci Kokke explained how she feels it's disheartening and disrespectful to health care workers to see people not following CDC guidelines involving masking, social distancing and staying home if they're ill.
"We need to somehow change the culture of what a mask means," said Kokke. "It's been taken out of context. This is just a public health measure you should take to protect yourself and others around you. This is nothing else but - it's not any other statements involved. This is purely a public health measure."
Cogswell says it's also difficult to hear some community members say COVID-19 isn't real as they fight it every day. When Cogswell hears anyone say that to her she responds with, "I'm sorry you feel that way but I'm still going to be here to take care of you if you get sick."
Mayo Clinic Ambulance paramedic Andrew Torresshared his experience when having to pick-up sick patients who ask him if they're going to be okay.
Torresshared says it can be a tough question to answer since he wants to reassure them but be realistic at the same time.
He says he often responds by saying, "I'm here to take care of you to the best of my ability and if anything can be done it will be done. And, I'm bringing you to the best place that I know."
During the virtual meeting none of the participants shared any protected health information about Mayo Clinic patients.