CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte ICU nurse with Samaritan’s Purse who was fighting the toughest cases of COVID-19 is preparing to come home. While she’s talking with us, something amazing happened.
Brittany Akinsola has spent the last 16 days caring for the most severe cases of COVID-19 in New York’s Central Park.
Akinsola, along with 69 other Samaritan’s Purse volunteer ICU nurses and doctors are working around the clock to save lives in an emergency hospital set up at the beginning of April.
“We get the sickest patients with COVID-19. The reality is that eight out of ten, the mortality rate. So out of ten patients only two will survive,” Akinsola said standing in the middle of what’s become a battleground against COVID-19.
“It can be very difficult and weigh heavy on the nurses. But then you look up and there are other patients that need your care, your love and hope,” she told me.
Even with such a tough fight, the team is leaning on each other, and their faith.
“We work really great as a team together to get through it and keep up our spirits up. And we just keep sharing the love of Christ through our gifts of nursing,” Akinsola said.
Life on the front lines of one of the country’s hardest hit cities has taught Akinsola a lot about humanity.
Every night, New York residents open their windows, bang pots, blow whistles, and shout “Thank You” at the top of their lungs in solidarity and support of health care workers.
Akinsola says it’s a bright spot in their long days.
“Yes that’s been one of my favorite things every night at 7:00. We’ve ended a shift and sometimes we’ve just laid it all out. And the moment we feel like we have nothing left, the streets of New York go crazy and it’s really one of our most favorite moments of the day,” Akinsola said.
There is also another sound that gives everyone on the Samaritan’s Purse team hope. The sound of the cowbell. That is always followed by cheers. Brittany explains what that sound means.
“We’ll hear that cowbell at just the right moment and it reminds us why we’re here. Someone is on their way home someone get to reunite with their family! They have been healed from this disease. So that is one of the things that keeps us going that’s really what we’re here to do,” Akinsola says with lots of hope in her voice.
Just as we are about to say goodbye, I hear something in the background behind her.
I asked, “Is that a cowbell?”
“That is the cowbell I told you about! So that’s someone going home right now. You can probably hear people yelling and cheering in the background. Because we celebrate it every single time!,” Akinsola exclaimed.
I couldn’t see her smile because of the surgical mask she has to wear, but I could see the joy in her eyes. Another person saved there on the grass fields of Central Park by the kind souls willing to leave their families and fight a very tough war.
It is faith that brought them to New York City, and it is faith, Brittany tells me, that keeps them going!
ICU Nurse Brittany Akinsola will come home to her baby boy and husband in Charlotte on Tuesday April 21st.