After spending weeks caring for COVID-19 patients in New York, a Dallas nurse is back home. He’s in quarantine, awaiting the day he can reunite with his family and sharing some words of wisdom with North Texans venturing out into public again.
Jim Mullen said the sheer volume of patients inside of a Queens, New York emergency room was staggering.
“The first six to seven shifts were unlike anything that I’ve ever seen before,” he said. “We probably had 40 patients in an area that was meant to have about 14.”
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He’s a lawyer and a nurse who decided to lend a hand in one of the nation’s hardest his areas. The emergency rooms in New York were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. And because resources were scarce, Mullen said tough decisions were made.
“You just have to pick the people essentially that you think not only are going to survive, but need the intervention the quickest,” he said.
After several weeks in New York, he’s back in North Texas, quarantined inside a hotel room, still away from his family. He returned just in time to see the stay-at-home order lifted and just in time to see the number of positive cases soar.
“I would hope that you’re putting the safety of both you and your loved ones and people that you don’t even know ahead of some things that aren’t necessities at this point,” Mullen said.
Mullen is among those being called a “hero” for the choices he’s made. But he said he’s just a “visitor” in the health care system who will soon go back to his practice as a personal injury lawyer.
The real hero, he said is his wife Gina, an ER doctor in Dallas who’s been on the front lines as well.
“It’s tough for me to hear because I live with a hero every day that’s 10 times the hero I could ever dream of being,” Mullen said. “And when she’s done doing all that she comes home, and she takes care of a 2-year-old girl and she still lets me go do this.”
As he awaits the day he can reunite with his wife and daughter, Gracie, he recommended people exercise caution while venturing out into public.
“I can tell you from firsthand experience that the worst-case scenario is something that we definitely don’t want to experience here in Dallas," he said.
Mullen has just a little under a week before he’s clear to go home and reunite with his family.