Skip to main content

MN nurse describes harrowing coronavirus experience in NY hospital

Lisseth DeGracia volunteered to go the front lines of the pandemic.

A Minnesota nurse has gone viral with her moving account of life on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lisseth DeGracia is one of thousands of health care professionals from across the country who answered New York's call for help last month, as the state's hospitals faced enormous strain from COVID-19.

DeGracia, a single mom who lives in the Twin Cities and works for Children's Minnesota, has been working at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens for weeks.

Her sacrifice made national headlines earlier this month, when Fox News interviewed her about her "eye-opening" experience seeing New York's coronavirus battle up close. 

Two weeks later, she's updating the world on what she's seeing and how she's doing, and a picture of DeGracia taking a breather — snapped by a concerned passerby — sums it all up:

"It’s pouring rain, but I needed fresh air after what I just experienced 2 hours into my shift," she wrote in the Friday Facebook post. "In ten years of nursing I have never been this shaken and stirred."

She describes the emotional toll of informing family members their loved ones are dying, writing, "I have heard the high pitched screams of family members over the phone knowing they will never see the person I am taking care of again."

"Have you ever held someone’s hand while they take their last breath, just so that they don’t die alone? I hope not," she added, "because I have."

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

However, she goes on to say that, despite the hardship of being separated from her family while confronting death on a daily basis, "I was meant to be here and experience this, God chose this path for me."

DeGracia closes her post by asking us to appreciate the people in our lives: "please, don’t miss an opportunity to make sure someone knows how much you love them."

As of Sunday morning, the post has been shared some 2,000 times, garnering over 800 comments. 

Next Up

Tow Boat

Tow boat collies with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, May 23

The latest from the state health department.

police tape, crime scene

Police: 2 people shot, 1 fatally over the weekend in La Crosse

Officers arrived to the scene and found one person suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Bear killed after it attacked couple in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin couple fight, kill bear that broke into their home

The incident happened last week in north-central Wisconsin.

Image from iOS (2)

Urban Outfitters store in Uptown to close

A number of national chains have departed Uptown in recent years.

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 6.41.22 AM

USS Minneapolis-St. Paul officially launched in Duluth ceremony

It's the first U.S. Navy ship to be commissioned in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-05-21 at 9.56.21 AM

North High principal Mauri Friestleben returning to finish year

The principal said Friday she had been fired from her role over her support of a student protest.

ambulance

One dead, two injured in wrong-way crash on Hwy. 169

The crash occurred on Highway 169 early Sunday morning.

minneapolis police

Man fatally shot overnight in north Minneapolis

The shooting was reported around 2:20 a.m.

Screen Shot 2022-05-22 at 8.30.08 AM

Campsites closed at Voyageurs National Park due to 'historic' water levels

All backcountry trails and campsites are closed, as well as many frontcountry sites.

state capitol Minnesota

Lawmakers reach agreement on tax cuts ahead of session's end

Lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on a tax bill Saturday ahead of the looming session deadline.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 6.26.50 PM

Minnesota nurse's story about her battle with COVID-19 goes viral

A month later, Ashley Walter is on a hard road to recovery.

Minnesota nurse Megan Chao Smith

MN nurse raising money, PPE, food and housing for frontline health workers

She had to leave the COVID-19 effort, so she's helping another way.

Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose

'TIME TO VENT': Dodge County sheriff unloads in Facebook post

He's defending first responders during the coronavirus.

Nachito Herrera

Acclaimed Twin Cities piano virtuoso in hospital with coronavirus

The Dakota jazz club says Nachito Herrera is "very ill."

N95 respirator mask.

Amid 'drastic' shortages, MN nurse group asking for N95 mask donations

Got any unused ones? You can give them to the MN Nurses Association.

doctor, surgery, masks

Coronavirus: America's hospitals are running out of protective equipment

The CDC is even suggesting medical staff could use scarves to protect themselves as a last resort.