HOUSTON – You can tell which nurses are members of the elite Rapid Response Team at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center because they wear red scrubs instead of the regular blue. One doctor called them the “nursing ninjas.”
The 12-person team can monitor every patient in the hospital remotely from the Rapid Response Team room. They focus on acute and intermediate care patients with the most urgent needs.
Within minutes of meeting experienced nurses Brenda Page and Sheila Jones, they get a call about an elderly woman struggling to breathe, who needed to be immediately transported to a COVID-19 ICU.
I watched as they hooked the patient to oxygen and made the transfer. They had to put on and take off gowns and gloves, wash and sanitize their hands every step of the way. They also wore N-95 masks and face shields.
KPRC 2 followed the Rapid Response Team and made sure not to touch anything. When I placed the GoPro camera on the floor to record nurses running past with a patient, my fingers touched the ground, and I was immediately told to wash my hands.
I also disinfected the microphone and equipment after leaving the COVID-19 units.
Every floor, we visit was full of COVID patients. When one leaves to go to the ICU or home, another patient immediately takes the empty bed.
Chris Howard, a “mobile ICU” doctor who works with the Rapid Response Team, discussed the worst-case scenarios.
“It’s unprecedented. It’s historic, in terms of what we’re dealing with,” Howard said. “Not only is it just the unbelievable number of patients experiencing coronavirus. But medically speaking, it’s a disease we have literally never seen before.”
The rapid response nurses are a lifeline at Baylor St. Luke’s.
“They’re going in and out and basically fixing everyone’s problems. These people are heroes,” Howard said.