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Boise nurse comes home after working in New York City: 'There's semis full of bodies on your way to work'

"I had a young man come in who was barely breathing and we set up a Skype so he could say goodbye to his wife and baby, and he was a healthy 31-year-old male."

BOISE, Idaho — After working at a New York City hospital for the past six weeks to help with the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a Boise nurse is returning home and described the severity of the pandemic to KTVB on Friday.

"You walk by and there's semis full of bodies on your way to work. It's a little sobering," Debbie Wilder said. "We would be stacking them up like cordwood, gurney after gurney, just lined up."

Wilder said working with fellow front-line workers to battle COVID-19 in New York City was emotionally difficult, but the working conditions were just as difficult.

She worked in the emergency room and helped around eight to ten patients a day.

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"At the ER I was at, you had to squeeze between gurneys of people," Wilder said. "You would see people being coded out of the corner of your eye, people are doing chest compressions, you would run by and someone would say 'hey is this your patient and you'd say no', but they don't have a pulse so you start doing CPR...

"I had a young man come in who was barely breathing and we set up a Skype so he could say goodbye to his wife and baby and he was a healthy 31-year-old male."

Wilder added that things like that would happen on a regular basis.

"You never knew how many patients you were going to have. You didn't know where they were because someone would take them for a test and then just plop them where there was a spot," she said. "I think this is going to cause some PTSD for everybody that's involved. You can see it in the eyes, cause that's all you could see from the people you worked with was their eyes."

Wilder said the experience can take a toll on a person mentally, physically and emotionally, but she says she is amazed by the perseverance of the hospital staff because they keep coming in and doing it day in and day out, and still try to smile.

"This is real," she said. "I've never met anything that scared me as bad as this virus."

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At KTVB, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage and the latest COVID-19 case numbers, visit our coronavirus section here: www.ktvb.com/coronavirus  

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