Watch: Minnesota ICU nurse brings President-elect Joe Biden to tears

Turner also got emotional talking about her experience as an ICU nurse during the pandemic.
Author:
Publish date:
Mary Turner (top-right) talks on a virtual call with the President-elect.

Mary Turner (top-right) talks on a virtual call with the President-elect.

President-elect Joe Biden became emotional, wiping tears from his eyes Wednesday as he listened to the raw, dark reality of what it's like to work in a Minnesota hospital right now. 

Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, joined a virtual conference with other frontline workers to explain to Biden what's happening around the nation as COVID-19 surges into the winter months. Turner, who works the night shift as an ICU nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, also became emotional. 

"Right now, COVID-19 infections are surging across Minnesota and the country. Our hospitals, I tell you, are overflowing with COVID patients and we aren't prepared. We don't have the necessary resources to keep patients and our workers safe," said Turner. 

"Nurses, I'm telling you, are feeling extremely anxious right now."

Turner said there remain concerns about supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and a "rapid decline in hospital beds." But as stressful as it is wearing the same N-95 respirator mask shift after shift, Turner said the worst part of the job is seeing patients die from the disease. 

"The physical impacts of this virus have been devastating. I myself have held the hands of dying patients, crying out for their family that they can't see. I've taken care of co-workers as they fight for their lives on a ventilator and knowing they got sick because the hospital or their government hasn't protected them," she said. 

"There is something seriously wrong when nurses have to take to the streets to beg for protection in the middle of a pandemic," she added. "We're not being given the protection that we need. We need to have optimal PPE for all staff to prevent airborne and droplet transmissions. We need testing of our workers and patients, and contact tracing and notification of exposure for healthcare workers." 

Turner said that despite working the only line of defense against the virus she has not yet been tested for COVID-19, to which Biden replied: "You're kidding me?"

Biden then became emotional, reaching down for a tissue to dry his eyes as Turner spoke about the frightening weeks to comes in Minnesota. 

"We know that we are facing immense death and suffering in the coming weeks," she said, "and we will be there. But we need to act now, we need to act quickly to protect our healthcare workers so that we can save as many lives as possible."

"You got me emotional," said Biden, then telling a story about spending time himself in an ICU where he "observed the incredible mental strain on nurses." 

Turner's words came on the same day that Minnesota reported a record 67 COVID-19 deaths, only to have that record likely broken again Thursday as Gov. Tim Walz said early Thursday morning that the state will report 76 more deaths and around 8,000 new cases of the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

Forecast with Novak Weather

Next Up

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Shayne Munich

Minneapolis police appeal for help finding missing man

Shayne Munich is described as a vulnerable adult.

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.

Adam Thielen

Report: Still on COVID-19 list, Thielen not expected to play Sunday

Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday.

Image from iOS (19)

Mask-wearing, distancing a common sight on MOA's Black Friday

Thousands of shoppers were out and about on Black Friday despite the COVID-19 situation.

Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 3.09.32 PM

Twin Cities ICU nurse: 'You need to know just how real this is'

Mary Turner provided a look into what it's like in an ICU ward right now.

Michael Osterholm

U of M's Osterholm named to President-elect Biden's COVID-19 advisory board

The board has prominent doctors and scientists tasked at guiding Biden's transition to president and planning for the federal response to the virus.

covid-19, coronavirus, ICU

Tuesday's Minnesota COVID-19 figures; ICU cases rise again

Total hospitalizations dropped, though ICU cases increased.

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.

coronavirus, ICU, covid-19 hospital, doctor

Minnesota hits new daily highs for COVID-19 deaths, ICU patients

Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested as soon as they can.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, August 11

ICU numbers dropped but hospitalization totals increased overall.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here's how many ICU beds are available around Minnesota

Critical care capacity is being pressed hard in eastern regions of Minnesota.

covid-19, coronavirus, ICU

Oct. 8 COVID-19 update: Hospitalization, ICU figures return

The data had been removed from public view Sept. 24.