“Nothing that compares:” MATC instructor gives update while working with COVID-19 patients at NYC hospital

NOW: “Nothing that compares:” MATC instructor gives update while working with COVID-19 patients at NYC hospital

NEW YORK CITY (CBS 58) – A Milwaukee Area Technical College Respiratory Therapy instructor is now working in New York City to help fight COVID-19.

Mike Christman is going into his second week working in the intensive care unit at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn.

“There’s nothing that compares to the mortality rate of this it’s just unbelievable,” he said. “It was overwhelming the first day. I knew it would be very busy and a lot of sick patients, but what I didn’t realize is the hospital that I’m at is in a very underserved part of Brooklyn and they are lacking equipment, definitely PPE.”

Christman has taught at MATC for 14 years and worked at Froedtert Hospital for 10 years. He knows what a busy hospital is like, but says this is incomparable.

“Very, very slight improvements in the number of new patients coming into the E.R., that’s going down a little bit each day, but the number of patients in the ICU that I’m staffed in is still always full,” Christman said.

He also said there is a constant struggle to find personal protective equipment.

“There’s days when they come in and there’s no masks and there’s kind of this where do we get a mask… the isolation gowns, the impenetrable gowns, they don’t have them, for several days you just spray them off with alcohol and hang them to dry,” Christman said. “Sometimes they go on like a scavenger hunt to the ICU or to the cardiac care unit to try to find a gown from the nurses and you have to beg borrow and steal sometimes.”

Christman said he understands everyone wants to get back to normal life, but asks to take it slow.

"You just gotta hang on a little bit longer and if you do it, do it very safely because these people, you know, were practicing social guidelines,” he said. “They weren’t congregating in groups, per se, but just traveling on the subway, just going to the grocery store, that’s how they got it [COVID-19].”

But there is hope, every time a recovered COVID-19 patient is released from Kingsbrook, Christman said they play ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles.

Christman is still teaching his MATC students remotely. He plans on being in New York City for at least two more weeks.

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