Palm Beach Gardens anesthesiologist helps coronavirus patients in New York

'It was something of a war scene,' Dr. Rick Feltman says
Posted at 12:03 AM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 19:41:19-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.  — So many local doctors and nurses are responding to the coronavirus fight, and a Palm Beach Gardens doctor is among them.

Dr. Ricky Feltman answered a difficult call leaving behind a wife and 14-month-old child. His old hospital, New York Community Hospital in Brooklyn, was desperate.

"The very first 24 hours I arrived, I was completely terrified," Feltman said. "I questioned what I had even done."

The next few days only confirmed what he had heard of the struggle day after day in the emergency room from the influx of COVID-19 patients.

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"It was something of a war scene," Feltman said. "That first whole week we had a tremendous amount of death, like something I have never seen before."

Far from the routine of surgery as an anesthesiologist at the Laser and Surgery Center in Palm Beach Gardens, now he was catapulted into a critical-care doctor overnight, witnessing the worst of the coronavirus and its emotional impact.

"It was difficult for all of us, the staff, who were really demoralized and felt helpless," Feltman said.

From the trauma of a week and half ago, Feltman said there are signs the worst could be over.

Death rates are down, intubations dropped drastically, and fewer patients are coming into the emergency room at New York Community Hospital. It's a signal that each day brings new hope for the next.

"There's definitely been a turnaround and we hope it stays that way this week," Feltman said.

Feltman said he plans to stay in Brooklyn until the end of April.