Mint Hill nurse returns home after 103-day deployment in NYC

Updated: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Mint Hill woman recently returned home after spending 103 days on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in New York.

Janaria Nash was working as a nurse in an operating room in Charlotte until the pandemic canceled elective surgeries. She took a crisis deployment job in New York City on March 21.

“I don’t think anyone who went there knew what to expect,” Nash said.

She served in emergency departments and med-surge units at Jacobi Medical Center and Kings County Hospital. Later in her deployment she was assigned to a Psych Emergency Department at Kings County Hospital.

Her first night on the job was trying. She says the med-surge units were converted to intensive care units because there were so many COVID-19 patients in serious condition.

“We bagged and tagged 10 bodies. 10 bodies,” Nash said. “My very first night. When I tell you all I could do was cry, all I could do was cry.”

She says there were sometimes two patients to a room because the hospitals were so overwhelmed with patients. She says the morgue was overwhelmed too.

“We would put a sheet over, cover that body and pull a curtain. But sometimes it would stay for hours before the morgue could get there to pick them up,” Nash said “And as you’re taking this patient to a different unit … them seeing a patient pass them who is deceased who has been bagged, and them asking you ‘Hey, is that going to be me? Am I going to make it out here alive’ and there is nothing you can tell them.”

She says at the beginning of her assignment, sometimes supplies and equipment were scarce, forcing physicians and respiratory therapists to make tough choices.

“There were times when there were arguments and disagreements over decisions made over whose life was going to be saved,” Nash said. “That was hard for me. Because you don’t have enough medications, or supplies, or ventilators.”

She says her experience was traumatizing. Knowing she saw some of the worst this virus can bring, she says it was hurtful when she saw others not taking it seriously on social media.

“I even stopped going on social media because it hurt me that the friends and family that would see my posts and would know I’m telling the exact truth, and still say this is a joke or you weren’t taking it serious or you weren’t wearing your mask,” Nash said. “People were just doing things that is just inconsiderate of people’s lives. And here I am sitting here holding this person’s hand as they’re dying, and they can’t even see their family and you’re making jokes about it.”

Nash has been self-isolating since she got home from New York. She will see her children for the first time since she left tonight.

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