/Minnesota ICU nurse brings Biden to tears during COVID-19 conference call – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press

Minnesota ICU nurse brings Biden to tears during COVID-19 conference call – TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press


The president of the Minnesota Nurses Association brought President-elect Joe Biden to tears Wednesday when she described the hardships she and other health care workers are facing as COVID-19 cases surge across the country.

The emotional moment came during a conference call Biden held with a handful of frontline workers from a theater in Wilmington, Del., as he prepares to assume leadership of the country’s fight against the pandemic.

MNA president Mary Turner broke down in tears during the call as she spoke about her experiences treating COVID-19 patients as an intensive care nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

“I myself have held the hand of dying patients who are crying out for their family that they can’t see,” Turner said as her voice broke. “I’ve taken care of co-workers as they fight for their lives on a ventilator, and knowing that they got sick because the hospital or their government hasn’t protected them.”

Turner told Biden, who could be seen wiping tears from his eyes with a handkerchief, that she and her fellow nurses are still reusing N95 respirator masks because the critical piece of personal protective equipment remains in short supply.

Asked by CNN anchor Erin Burnett during an interview what caused her to choke up as she spoke on the call, Turner said “there has been such despair” among nurses over their working conditions and “the fact that the federal government has not been there” for them.

“I think what kind of happened to me today was … for the first time, speaking with President-elect Biden, I had hope,” Turner said. “And with that came such an emotional release, because I finally felt like somebody was actually listening.”

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