INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Clinical Nurse Supervisor Charity Maldonado has worked at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood for 29 years. Out of all that time, she said this past year has been the most demanding and unforgettable.
"It has stretched me into the limits of my career," Maldonado said. "It is something that has tapped into your inner being of what it is to be an ICU nurse," she continued.
Maldonado has faced the pain of losing patients and has had to balance taking care of herself, her family as well as the safety of people she comes in contact with daily.
"I pray, I ask God every day to guide us to protect us," Maldonado said. "The love of family, the love friends, your coworkers are your best support."
"Ultimately, the sense of physician and nursing feelings is 'Is this ever going to end and are we going to see some light at the end of the tunnel,'" said Dr. Paryus Patel.
Dr. Patel is the Chief Medical Officer at Centinela Hospital. His team oversees all COVID-19 patients. He said his staff also deals with depression from the self-isolation needed to protect their loved ones.
"We have set up some counseling," Dr. Patel said. "We have set up some websites, we have set up some hotlines for physicians, nursing and staff to talk this out support groups. So, it has helped but it's an ongoing thing."
Dr. Patel said there's also the lingering fear and potential risk of contracting the virus. For emergency medicine physician at Centinela Hospital, Wayne Dodakian, this fear came true.
"I was infected in early March of this year, and was hospitalized," Dr. Dodakian said. "It was very humbling especially for a physician to put his care into the hands of other people."
Dr. Dodakian said being a survivor himself has not only made him appreciate life more, but also has helped him be a better doctor.
"I came pretty close to checking out and having not checked out I'm grateful for everything from this point on," Dr. Dodakian said. "And more understanding of patients illnesses too."
The doctors and nurses at Centinela Hospital face many challenges, but they said they still have hope.
"Now more information has been documented, more studies have been done, more knowledge is gained on this," Dr. Dodakian said. "Even though the second wave is here, and bigger than the first wave, I really believe that we're in a better place to handle it now than we ever were before."
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