nurse crying coronavirus video

D’neil Schmall/Facebook

ICU nurse posts video crying after treating coronavirus patients in New York

'You just walk into a room, and there’s a dead body there,' says the nurse, who relocated just to help on the frontlines.


Alexandra Samuels

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 11, 2020

An ICU nurse who relocated to New York City amid the new coronavirus pandemic broke down in tears in a now-viral video where she describes what it’s like working on the frontlines. 

D’neil Schmall went to Manhattan in March to treat patients at a temporary hospital in Central Park. In the video, the 35-year-old describes the “worst shift” she’s had since coming to New York on March 30.

“I don’t know, I just feel like there’s only so much anyone can take,” she said in an 8-minute video she posted on Facebook.

“I’m tired of walking into rooms and your patient’s dead. You just walk into a room, and there’s a dead body there. I’m tired of calling families and telling them that news,” she continues.

She says she posted the “completely unedited” video as a way to vent during the global health crisis.

In the video, Schmall also discusses losing fellow nurses to COVID-19, the virus that causes the disease.

She urges people to stay safe and to be empathetic to nurses and doctors. “I don’t think people understand how stressful this job is?” she says through tears. “I was trained for anything in the world, but this is so stressful.”

“If you have ever felt any time would be appropriate to have compassion for each other, right now is the time when we should all have compassion for each other, and try to at least acknowledge what the other person is going through. I just have so much sadness,” she continues.

Schmall says some nurses are tending up to 14 patients per shift. 

But despite the difficult working conditions, Schmall doesn’t want to tell her parents because she doesn’t want to worry them. To help nurses and other staffers overwhelmed with grief and trauma, she encourages hospitals to bring in additional mental health resources.

“I can’t call my mom because then she’ll be worried about me—she never wanted me to come here from the beginning,” she says. “I can’t call my sisters ‘cause I don’t want to stress them out.”


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*First Published: Apr 11, 2020, 11:53 am CDT