A Dallas attorney is returning to nursing to help save lives in New York.
Jim Mullen is understandably tired.
He’s spent the last 10 days working 12-hour shifts treating COVID-19 patients inside an emergency room in New York and has another 10-day stretch to go.
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“I don’t think anything can prepare you for what you see when you walk in for something like this,” Mullen said. “First seven shifts were off-the-wall crazy. The worst experience I’ve ever had in my experience of being an ER nurse.”
“The first six to seven shift the workflow was unbelievable. I had anywhere from 10-12 patients assigned to me personally and anywhere from six to eight of those would be critical or on ventilators.”
It’s a job he volunteered to do.
After he worked as an ER nurse at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital and later in Dallas, Mullen left medicine to pursue a career as a personal injury attorney five years ago.
But after he saw what was happening in New York, he felt compelled to help.
“Sitting at home doing nothing just felt really wrong,” Mullen said.
That calling runs in the family.
Jim’s wife, Gina, is an ER doctor in Dallas, who was already treating coronavirus patients when Jim suggested going to New York.
“Because she’s on the front lines every day, she understood the desire for me to go there," he said.
Mullen said leaving his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Gracie, has been tough and forced some difficult conversations regarding their own health risks, but knows this was the right choice.
He’s been sharing what it’s like in New York on social media.
In one post, he said he was relieved to finally share some temporary good news.
“I got to the hospital last night and not only were people not dying in the hallway beds, there were no patients in hallway beds,” Mullen said in one video post.
He said after several days of caring for dying patients, the last two days have seen a decrease in those critically ill.
Mullen said he wanted to share his story so others could learn from his experience.
“The scariest thing about this virus is you could be passing it on when you have no symptoms," he said.
He wants North Texans to understand what is happening in New York, and even though our area is not seeing similar caseloads, it’s best to head local warnings to stay home.
“You do not want to be anywhere near what I’ve been doing for the last seven to eight days," he said.
Mullen said if conditions improve in New York, he’ll return home in two weeks, but if not, he planned to sign on for another 3-week nursing shift.