“So, my day begins at about 4:45.”
Andrew Kassinove is the Chief of Staff at JFK Medical Center and the Medical Director of the Emergency Room.
“Get here by 6,” Kassinove said. “Then take over from the doctor getting off who’s been here since 9 o’clock the night before, then I started seeing patients.”
From the moment he walks in the door until the moment he leaves, Kassinove doesn’t stop. In addition to treating a room full of patients, he’s also in meetings on the side trying to figure out how to maneuver the pandemic.
“It’s constantly changing so we’re constantly pivoting and trying to adapt,” he said.
For Kassinove and so many other health workers, the last four months have been an “emotional roller coaster”.
“In the beginning, we were all very, very ramped up,” he said. “We were worried, we were focused, we were prepared, we had plans and then we did a really good job in California and then we didn’t get the patients as much,” he said.
He called it a brief “sigh of relief” until cases spiked following Memorial Day.
“Now, all of a sudden, the patients have come.”
The surge is valley-wide. Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage is also experiencing an influx in COVID-19 patients.
“It had doubled, and then it tripled,” Ann Marie Bullard, a registered nurse in a COVID unit at Eisenhower Health, said. “Now, we’re at full capacity.”
She said some days are better than others due to the mental toll it takes on her when treating sick patients. She typically has three to herself.
“Some days, to be perfectly honest, some days I cry,” she said.
Bullard became a nurse five years following her family’s footsteps. She went back to school in her 50’s to pursue her passion. She said she recently went through a down period.
“We’re all tired, we’ve been doing this day in and day out for weeks,” Bullard said.
Both medical professionals agree, they signed up for this when taking the job.
“This is the profession that I chose and it’s the best thing that I’ve done in my life,” Bullard said.
“This is what we do, this is what all of us E.R. people were born to do,” Kassinove said.
They said they don’t don’t mind doing their job if the public can do theirs.
“All the public can do for us is wear their masks, wash their hands and socially distance,” Kassinove said.
“Stay safe, be smart, protect yourself and your family,” Bullard said.