FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Every breath is a struggle. These are the images that haunt Rublas Ruiz, a 41-year-old ICU nurse at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami.
His COVID patients plead with him. They're unable to speak hooked up to breathing machines, often desperately gasping for a bit of air. He sits on their bed, grasps their hand, strokes their cheek and prays.
While other nurses rotate in and out of the COVID-19 ICU unit to limit their exposure to the virus, he’s asked to stay permanently.
He says it's his calling, playing the role of nurse and family as one patient after another dies.