‘It’s emotionally taxing:’ Checking in on an LSU doctor, residents on the front lines of the war on coronavirus

“The worst thing is watching people die and watching people be sick and there’s nobody with them"

LSU Health residents seeing virus patients in South Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — KSLA News 12 is checking in on Dr. Angela Cornelius, an LSU Health-Shreveport emergency room doctor who is leading some residents on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in New Orleans.

She and her team are helping the staff at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero.

“You know, it’s emotionally taxing watching people that you admitted now start to deteriorate, end up in the ICU or coding,” Cornelius said. “The worst thing is watching people die and watching people be sick and there’s nobody with them."

West Jefferson remains prepared to respond to coronavirus patients, she said. In fact, Cornelius added, the hospital has enough ventilators at the moments.

“Over the last four days, we’ve seen kind of a leveling out of things.”

But despite the tragedy of the moment, Cornelius remains immensely proud of the resiliency of these residents who volunteered on this bold mission. The skills they learn responding to a disaster of this nature will be used throughout their medical careers, she explained.

“I think being well-versed in disaster situation where you walk in with minimal amounts of information and sometimes minimal supplies ... . I think these residents are getting a crash course. Just the life skills to be able to take what’s being thrown at you and figure out how to work it to make it benefit your patients.”

Cornelius urges residents at home in Shreveport and throughout Louisiana to continue to physically distance themselves from others as the state works to flatten its own curve.

She and her team will remain in Southeast Louisiana, where they will be helping the staff at University Medical Center for the next week.

As of Tuesday,16,284 people had contracted the virus in Louisiana, of which 582 have died. Those deaths include 42 in Northwest Louisiana, including 26 in Caddo alone.

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