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Montefiore in the News
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Montefiore in the News

May 6, 2020

A fatigued health care worker takes a moment outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center in April. Many hospital workers these days have to cope with horrific tragedies playing out multiple times on a single, 12-hour shift.

The scene at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx is unlike anything psychiatrist Bruce Schwartz has seen. Everyone, even interns and nurses in training, have been tapped to tend to the flood of COVID-19 patients, who are crashing and dying at rates comparable to the front line of a battlefield.

His hospital treats a highly vulnerable minority population — where rates of obesity and diabetes also run high — meaning infected patients face an especially high risk of death.

"We're very much in the center of the epidemic," Schwartz says. Overworked and burned out, hospital staff are all coping with horrific tragedies playing out multiple times on a single, 12-hour shift. "It is really a very horrendous experience that no one could possibly be prepared for," Schwartz says.