SEE IT: Out-of-state healthcare workers fighting coronavirus in NYC get surprise standing ovation from cops
It was a send-off worthy of the heroes they are.
Out-of-state healthcare workers who joined New York’s ongoing war against coronavirus were given a surprise standing ovation from scores of cops Wednesday as many prepared for their last rotation at area hospitals.
Dozens of NYPD officers surprised the volunteers outside of Park Central Hotel in Midtown and applauded their dedication, bravery and generosity as they boarded a bus that would take them to another day on the front lines.
“It made me tear up, it’s so amazing. I really appreciate them doing that," Madison Webb, a physician assistant from Panama City, Fla., said as she was cheered by the cops.
A month ago, Webb, 28, was home some 1,150 miles from Midtown when she heard Gov. Cuomo’s call for emergency healthcare workers. She’s now caring for COVID-19 patients at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
“We’ve been shown a lot of support and it’s been great, especially when you’re so far away from your family," she said.
Along with his cup of coffee, the unexpected 6 a.m. salute was the jolt nurse practitioner Jason Anderson needed for another day battling the pandemic.
“We’ve seen some things that we’ll never forget,” said Anderson, who lives in Orlando, Fla., and has been pitching in at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens since late March.
“This is not what I expected it to be. Coming from different states, we can only know what we see on the news. It didn’t hit home until we got here, walking into the emergency room on the first day. It was a real shocker."
“It has been chaotic, it has been overcrowded. Patients are overcrowded in the ER, several people in a room. The morgue has been overfilled so they’ve been having to hold the deceased patients in the hallways and in the emergency department," added Anderson, 37. "The family and friends are not allowed to be there when the patient is passing but it is important for them to know that we were there for them at the end, holding their hand.”
For the last three weeks, every day has been a fight bringing COVID-19 sufferers back from the brink, Anderson said.
“There was one patient I specifically remember, she was in her 50s," he said. "We were doing chest compressions on her, trying to get her back, and I remember out of nowhere, just saying it out loud, ‘Not today COVID, not today.’ At the two-minute pulse check, she did have a pulse.
“I extended (my stay) another eight weeks," the nurse said. "I just feel like my job is not done here. My heart still belongs here.”
Physician Assistant Caitlyn McAnall, who worked in a dermatology office in Toledo, Ohio, before being rotated to another 12 hour shift at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn boarded the bus hoping to save one more life.
“I had one patient just yesterday, as I was coming back on the unit, I saw her getting wheeled off, smiling," McAnall, 30, said. "She was so grateful that she was actually getting to go home. That just keeps me going.”
New York City remains the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., officials said. As of Tuesday the city had 134,874 COVID-19 cases, 35,746 people hospitalized and 9,562 deaths.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the applause from the NYPD was only fitting, especially for the health care heroes working their last shift here.
“So many people across the country have reached out to us and helped us," she said. “It was a nice way to send them back home."