Inside a special COVID-19 wing of the intensive care unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center, a team of doctors and nurses focuses on the virus’s youngest and sickest victims.
Their work is showcased in a video the hospital released Wednesday.
"It's definitely going to be hopping back there,” said Melodie Davis, the director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU, on her way into the unit, known as 2-North.
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Young patients who are not as critically ill are treated on another floor.
"Not a single day is the same,” nurse Taryn Compton said. “We really roll with the punches. Lots of teamwork. Lots of moral support for each other, just with not knowing what to expect or what's next."
Davis said while children can get the virus and have bad outcomes, they are far more resilient and are impacted far less than older victims.
"There are children getting very ill,” Davis said. “The great news is most of them recover beautifully."
She said the virus has changed everything at the sprawling Fort Worth children’s hospital, where workers have had to adjust to constantly changing plans and procedures.
"It has literally touched every aspect of our jobs,” Davis said.
Davis, a mother of three who also has had to alter her personal routine, such as immediately showering when she gets home, sees hope in the months ahead.
Vaccines are now approved for adults but not children under 16.
"There is certainly hope for it,” she said. “There are critical trials right now looking at a little younger age. We would certainly hope to get there at some point."
Davis said she worries about a higher spike in the weeks ahead, especially as more families get together over the holidays.
"We predicted it with Thanksgiving. It certainly happened,” she said. “I would love for it not to happen again with Christmas."
So for now, the life and death work at Cook Children's goes on, and it’s as busy as ever, with no break for Christmas.
"It's kind of the last line of defense, the last chance these kids have,” nurse Sara Morgan said in the hospital’s video. “So we fight every day, every night, to make sure these kids can make their way through to the point they can get better on their own."
Most of the employees at Cook Children's have already received their vaccines. As frontline health care workers most at risk, they were at the very first to get the shots.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.