IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- When NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center put out a call for help from more intensive-care-unit doctors amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Sebastian Schubl of Orange County was among those who volunteered.
"I went there because that's where I did my surgical residency and worked there for a few years after, so I knew the institution and the people fairly well," said Schubl, a trauma and critical care surgeon at UCI Health in Orange.
On April 9, Schubl arrived in New York, the area hardest-hit by the coronavirus in the U.S. He worked 12 hour-shifts in the ICU, caring for 20 patients.
"They were very sick," he said. "It was a daunting task."
The hospital was near capacity, converted to treat COVID-19 patients. Schubl said there was no comparison to what he's seen in Orange County.
"We have some very sick COVID patients at UCI, but we only have a handful thank goodness," he said.
Schubl was one of four volunteer physicians to help at the New York hospital for one week.
The daily gratitude that shown by New Yorkers was unlike anything Schubl had ever seen.
"Walking home at 7 o'clock and hearing all the pots banging and the people clapping and flashing lights, because they knew it was shift-change, was really an unbelievable experience," he said. "I never experienced anything like that before.That outpouring of support and affection to health care workers was amazing."