’You just see the distress in their face and it’s heartbreaking’: Hospital worker talks gratitude, conditions inside local hospital

Respiratory therapist on the front lines

SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - As the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina continue to rise, health care professionals across the state are making difficult decisions on how to keep their families safe.

Earlier this week, Wilmington-based medical supply company PCCS announced it had paid for 100 nights at the ARRIVE Hotel for any healthcare worker.

Sonny Ramos, a respiratory therapist at a local hospital, said he found out about the opportunity through a co-worker and was floored by the generosity.

“It’s still just hard to believe that something like this is for us,” he said.

After a Thursday shift at the hospital, Ramos realized it may be time to make the switch from home to a hotel for the sake of his family.

“It might be several weeks that I’m able to come back home after today and I’m fine now but who knows what’s going to happen. I don’t want to take the chance of bringing anything home to them so I’ll just stay here and ride this thing out,” he said.

While there has been no shortage of gratitude for healthcare workers across the country, Ramos said he is grateful, too.

“I love what I do and who else is better to be on the front lines. This is my way of giving back and my service and I’m just grateful. I have a lot of gratitude to even be in this position. To be on the front line and to have something to offer,” he said.

Despite the daily increase in COVID-19 cases, health officials say North Carolina still has not reached its peak.

“There’s fear there, there’s anxiety there the unknowing. You can just see it and feel it, you can see it in people’s eyes. It’s constant change you just don’t know. It’s so much. The staff is stretched to the limit. It’s the same stuff everybody has been hearing the supplies. It’s pretty stressful on everybody,” Ramos said.

Ramos said you can help him and his co-workers by staying home and maintaining social distance.

“From time to time I’ll see a worker in the corner somewhere crying, shedding a tear and you just see the distress in their face and it’s heartbreaking. So you just kind of give them their space or pick the right time to go up and give them a comforting word or two," he said.

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