Joe Biden fought back tears as he opened up about the time he had spent in the ICU by his son Beau’s side.
In a virtual meeting with frontliners, the president-elect listened as nurses called for help and opened up about the hardships that frontliners have been going through during the pandemic.
As Mary Turner, the president of Minnesota Nurses Association, a National Nurses United affiliate, told Biden, the hospitals have been overwhelmed whereas the staff aren’t prepared and lack crucial resources to treat patients and keep themselves safe at the same time.
“Right now, COVID-19 infections are surging across Minnesota and the country. Our hospitals, I tell you, are overflowing with COVID patients and we aren’t prepared,” Turner said.
“We don’t have the necessary resources to keep patients and our workers safe. Nurses, I’m telling you, are feeling extremely anxious right now.”
Battling tears during her emotional plea, the MNA president added: “The physical impacts of this virus have been devastating. I myself have held the hands of dying patients, crying out for their family that they can’t see.
“I’ve taken care of co-workers as they fight for their lives on a ventilator and knowing they got sick because the hospital or their government hasn’t protected them.
“There is something seriously wrong when nurses have to take to the streets to beg for protection in the middle of a pandemic.”
As Turner went on to suggest that frontliners are not being given the PPE they need to work safely, Biden replied in disbelief by saying: “You’re kidding me.”
After warning Biden that action needs to be taken immediately “to protect our healthcare workers so that we can save as many lives as possible” over the winter, Turner apologized for being “so emotional.”
Responding to the healthcare worker, Biden opened up about the time he had spent in the ICU with his late son Beau.
“No, you got me emotional,” the president-elect said.
“Anyone who spent significant time in ICU, like I did for months, … observed the incredible mental strain on nurses in ICU units.”
The 78-year-old added: “One of the things that one of my neurosurgeons said to me was you only see people walk out of the ICU. Either they’re walking out and they don’t ever want to come back because they don’t want the memory or they’re being carried out and they can’t come back.
“The psychic enumeration for you guys is missing. You don’t see the people you save come back so I’m sorry for needing to get personal about it … but thank you, thank you for what you do and all your colleagues, male and female.”
Biden also took the opportunity to take a shot at Trump for refusing to acknowledge him as the winner of the 2020 election and starting the transition.
“One of the problems that we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognize — the law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is,” he added.
“Which, unless it’s made available soon, we’re gonna be behind by weeks or months being able to put together the whole initiative.”
As Biden expressed, he hopes to be able to work with Republicans to reach a compromise on funding and further aid those struggling because of the pandemic.
“The Congress has already passed that money, it’s sitting there. It’s available right now. But we’re unwilling, some of our friends on the Senate side are unwilling to spend the money,” the president-elect said.
“It’s not a responsible position. And I’m hoping that the reason why my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president, and hopefully when he’s gone, they’ll be more willing to do what they know, should be done.”