Parallel lives: Twin-brother ER doctors fight COVID-19 in New York, Miami
Emergency room doctor Michael D’Urso has had some bleak days on the front lines of New York City’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Intubated patients sometimes spend days waiting for beds in overcrowded intensive care units. Seemingly stable patients suddenly start deteriorating rapidly. On one recent shift, 15 of 23 nurses were out sick, many with symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Those remaining scrambled to care for some 20 patients at a time, more than double what is normal. The tough days make D’Urso appreciate a unique comfort amid the relentless trauma - a sympathetic ear from his brother, an identical twin, who does the identical job in a Miami emergency room.
For Dennis D’Urso in Miami, the harrowing tales from Michael can feel like an unsettling glimpse into his future. The ER where Dennis works is starting to fill with COVID-19 patients with COVID-19, but Michael’s has been deluged for weeks in what has been the hardest-hit U.S. city. The new coronavirus had infected nearly 168,000 people in New York City as of Tuesday evening - killing nearly 18,000. It had infected nearly 12,000 and killed 324 in Miami-Dade County. (For an interactive graphic tracking cases and deaths, click tmsnrt.rs/2zFM89M )
“We’re bracing,” Dennis says. Emergency medicine is the D’Urso family business. Their father, James D’Urso, worked for 35 years as an emergency doctor outside Boston, regaling his sons with “the coolest stories” of saving lives and diagnosing strange diseases, Michael says. Their younger brother, 28-year-old Tom, also works in the ER as a technician at North Shore Medical Center Salem Hospital, in Salem, Massachusetts. 29 April 2020