Parkland Hospital

Parkland Hospital Frontline Workers See Hope During Pandemic

While the number of patients is down, the COVID-19 team at Parkland Hospital remains cautiously optimistic

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The inside of Parkland Hospital's COVID-19 unit looks a lot different today than it did just a few weeks ago.

Nurses report fewer patients and a much more manageable workflow, but they know this lull may be short-lived.

Images shot by the Dallas Morning News photography staff take you inside part of the tactical care unit of Parkland Hospital.

It was once lined with patients but it's now empty.

The patient load now is nearly half of what it was in early July.

There are still seriously ill COVID-19 patients, but each is able to stay in a private room.

"It's definitely significantly different. Our volumes are a lot lower. I think people are more comfortable in the environment and dealing with the disease. It's that two-fold that allowed us to breathe a little bit and feel at least safe while caring for the population that has this disease," said Senior Vice President of Nursing Samantha Rowley.

Rowley says in the six months since taking in their first COVID-19 patient, constantly evolving safety protocols kept virus transmission from patients to medical staff significantly low.

They also have a better handle on what to do when a patient turns the corner, good or bad.

"It gives me hope that we won't go back to those days where there was a concern about what kind of decisions would we have to make about rationing care for patients because we have too many to handle," said Senior Director of Nursing Kathleen Doherty.

While the physical burden has lessened, the mental burden is still just as heavy.

There are patients who can't be saved and fears that the public will let up on wearings masks and other safety measures, that they believe have led to the current lull.

There are also still deep personal concerns.

Rowley's husband is a type one diabetic and together they take care of their four young children.

"Going through this personally has been the hardest thing because I make sure that not only am I doing the right thing at work for the community I'm serving and the group I lead, but also not bringing that home and putting my entire family at risk," said Rowley.

Parkland's COVID team remains steadfast in their fight in a pandemic that they say has changed the face of healthcare.

Right now, the hospital still has a 'no visitor' policy but says it may ease up on those restrictions soon.

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