‘This is serious’: Tennessee lawmaker helps battle COVID-19 in New York City

NEW YORK — “Alex, to be honest with you I don’t know if I’m equipped. This is something I’ve never seen before.”

Many know Katrina Robinson as a Tennessee state senator from Memphis, but she’s also an intensive care nurse. For the past week she’s been on the front lines in a New York City hospital treating patients suffering from COVID-19.

“Just to see what these patients look like and what families are going through, it really breaks my heart and I want Memphians to understand that,” she told WREG’s Alex Coleman during a video conference.

For Robinson, this all started when she heard that nurses were desperately needed to volunteer.

“I just came here to work. Mentally you have be in a place where you’re working towards making a difference.”

It’s a difference that can be heartbreaking.

“People are dying. We have trailers outside they’re putting body bags in and we have ice tents because we’re out of trailers. People are dying because the system cannot sustain.”

Not to mention the life and death decisions that have to be made.

“They are having to make life and death decisions whether these people can stay on a ventilator. You have an 86 year old on a ventilator and you also have a 26 year old in the E.R. Who gets the ventilator?”

Every few minutes, she and others hear the word “code,” meaning another patient is going into cardiac arrest.

“There are no non-acute patients. They’re all COVID-19 hospitals.”

But there are moments of hope.

The fire department came by the other day to salute us as started our first shift just thanking us for our help and coming down to help them.”

She said she also wants to help the Mid-South get the support they need.

“We need to be helping these counties, cities prepare for this and there needs to be funding allocated to make some makeshift hospitals.”

“What do you want Mempians to know?” asked Coleman.

“I want Memphians to know this is serious. This is not a conspiracy, not the opportunity to investigate 5G. This is not something the government made up. This is a global pandemic and you need to stay at home.”