HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii nurse who volunteered to work in a Brooklyn ICU at the peak of New York’s COVID-19 crisis has now been deployed to Texas as it grapples with a surge of its own.
Jacky Crawley is using vacation time to help, taking off from her full-time job on Oahu to again work in an epicenter of the outbreak. She touched down in San Antonio on Wednesday morning.
The Oahu woman is one of 200 ICU nurses from across the country who responded to a call from hospitals in the city pleading for reinforcements.
“I felt like I needed to go,” she said. “I needed to help.”
Speaking from a hotel room as she waited for her assignment, she told us the plan was to work there for the next two weeks.
It’s time off from her job at Hawaii Life Flight and her second medical mission in just three months.
“I feel like my background as an intensive care unit nurse and these types of patients is really my forte ― and I feel I can best help where the need is,” Crawley said.
In April, she spent three weeks at New York City’s Lincoln Hospital.
“I’ve never in my life, in my 20-plus years of nursing, seen so many critically ill patients. One bed after another,” she said.
“The patients I took care of in the Bronx were younger. In their 30s and 40s. A lot of them didn’t have underlying conditions. I wish in a sense we could bring a camera in there. Into the ICUs so people can see how real this is.”
She says the hardest part was seeing patients separated from their families during their final days.
“They were dying alone,” she said. “I would hate for Hawaii to go through what I’ve seen in New York. Because it was so heartbreaking.”
Crawley wants to encourage residents to do what needs to be done to keep cases low in the islands, saying the alternative is devastating.
“Our resources here are very limited and we need to understand that to be at capacity ― and beyond capacity ― is going to be very detrimental. We really need to take this seriously.”
Despite a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases, Hawaii hospitals are still in good shape. Only about half of ICU beds are in use.