Coronavirus: Nurses at Marina del Rey hospital describe being on the front lines of a pandemic

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. (KABC) -- Life in the time of coronavirus has created a new normal for everyone, and Southern California's local hospitals are no exception.

Two nurses at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital recently shared their stories from the front lines of the pandemic.

"Kinda feels like we've got our hands are tied to behind our back, cause the second we get a new patient everyone wants to run in the room and help settle the patient in -- but we can't," said Lauren Yamashita, a registered nurse who works in the intensive care unit.

Some protocols have changed when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients. And doctors and nurses are racing to keep up with a virus that none of them had previously seen.

"They become sick so quickly that it's just every little detail we have to be watching for," Yamashita said.

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Although stress is high, there is camaraderie and teamwork among the hospital staff.

"It's inspiring to see so many co-workers willing to come in extra days to help out," Yamashita said. "That's definitely something that I think keeps us going. It keeps us feeling like a team."

And as any health-care worker will attest, the mind is just as important as the body.

"We try to be there and communicate to them and make them feel good, be positive," Irine Quintas, a registered nurse, said of patients. "That helps them a lot. We've discharged some of our patients home, and they've sent us back messages thanking us for talking to them and encouraging them during a difficult time."

The staffers say they know the power of staying positive for themselves.

"I've been spending a lot of time in my backyard these days," Quintas said. "That's really the only place I can take my toddler. So while he's out there playing, I've been trying my luck at gardening. So that's kind of been my therapy.

"This will all be over soon," she added, "and we'll be -- we'll be alright."
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