Chaplain helping Denver doctors, nurses cope with fight against coronavirus

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — For doctors and nurses fighting the war on the coronavirus, it can be rough both emotionally and physically. 

At Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, it has become Rev. Michael Guthrie’s mission to help doctors, nurses and patients through some very rough days. 

“Some are very religious and so for those that are religious, we’ll stop for a moment and say a prayer. For those that are spiritual, we talk about the resources that are available to them once they leave the hospital,” Guthrie said.

Nurses like Courtney Ciullo face a number of challenges every shift.

“I think the most emotional part of it for all of us is we have to be the ones who tell our patients that we are doing what we can and we don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Ciullo.

In a flash, strangers dressed in space suits become trusted friends with critically ill patients fighting for their lives. 

Some have described fighting the coronavirus as a type of war, with health care workers on the front lines.

Guthrie is there to try to calm workers as they enter rooms to care for the sickest patients. 

“In that moment of washing our hands, I encourage them to take a deep breath and center themselves to prepare as they go into the room so they don’t feel anxious,” said Guthrie. 

Ciullo said, “He’s very good at helping us feel relaxed. I don’t know — there’s just something in his voice that keeps you pushing forward.”

Guthrie says he tells medical workers to try to let go of the day’s struggles when they get home. 

They’ll need their strength again tomorrow and in the weeks to come. 

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