MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Nurses at Mercy Health in Muskegon received a Thanksgiving Day video call from President-elect Joe Biden and the future first lady.
Joe and Jill Biden called the group of intensive care unit nurses around 1 p.m. Thursday, thanking them as the unit has been hit hard with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases.
“You guys are incredible. You really, truly are,” Joe Biden told the nurses. “And you’ve got such a spike at your hospital and so much need and you’re risking your lives. We just can’t thank you enough.”
The couple asked the nurses how they were doing during the pandemic.
“We are hanging in there. It’s a struggle. It’s hard, but we’re doing it, we’re doing what we do,” nurse Amy Moore responded.
When asked what their greatest concerns were, several nurses said “staffing” and not having enough ICU nurses.
“Staffing is a big concern. Having all the protection we need is a big concern,” Moore said. “Mostly staffing.”
Though the nurses are short-staffed, they say they feel the support from the doctors they work with.
“You docs save our lives,” Joe Biden said. “You docs allow us to live and the nurses make us want to live.”
Biden spoke of how important ICU nurses have been in his family’s life.
“We’ve had the experience of having the benefit of ICU nurses and unfortunately, I spent a lot of time in ICU and our son did,” Biden said. “I think you underestimate how critical you are to the mental health as well, not just the physical. Just knowing that the nurses were there for us made a gigantic, gigantic difference even when it didn’t go well.”
Nurses at Mercy Health said they appreciated the words of encouragement.
“We appreciate you reaching out to us. It’s so nice to know that we have someone who cares so much to do that,” Moore said. “It’s quite a difference and you don’t know how much we appreciate that.”
News 8 spoke with Moore after her Thanksgiving Day shift. She says the video call meant a lot to the staff.
“He’s calling Muskegon, Michigan to talk to us. This is unbelievable,” Moore said. “It’s just amazing.”
According to Moore, the call gave them a sense that someone cared as they deal with the highest number of cases they have seen during the pandemic.
COVID-19 has claimed 162 lives in Muskegon County this year with November being the worst month by far with 78 deaths and just a few days remaining in the month.
The latest available numbers from the state show Mercy Health in Muskegon has 142 COVID-19 patients, 33 in the ICU, and the hospital near capacity.
“We have nurses that have been working these units since March and they have been dealing with this for so long, months upon end and it’s hard. We almost wish in a way everybody could see what we’re going through and could see the reality of it,” Moore said.
Moore’s mother is also a nurse at the same hospital who treats COVID-19 patients.