"This is the humanitarian mission of our lifetimes."
That's the message Dr. Vicki L. LoPachin, the chief medical officer of Mount Sinai Hospital, had for his staff in an email this morning as it and other medical facilities across New York City gear up to fight the rising tide of coronavirus. The hospital is one of several in the city
"We won't win every battle," said LoPachin. "There will be loss, and suffering, and at times perhaps each of us will question our will to fight. "
She added, " But then we will remember all the lives we can save, all the comfort we can provide, and all the good we can do."
Mount Sinai is one of several hospitals on the front lines of the fight. Doctors there have treated more than 613 patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon, with 123 in intensive care. LoPachin says there were another 76 potential cases.
More on the Coronavirus
In the same letter, she also called on people who have recovered from the virus to volunteer to donate blood plasma for use in a treatment that had been fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration.
The treatment known as convalescent plasma transfusion has been used in previous pandemics - and uses the plasma from recently recovered patients, which has high levels of antibodies that can be used to help sick patients clear the virus from their systems more quickly.
The hospital has asked recovered patients to contact them if they're interested in donating. The New York Blood Center, the first blood bank in the nation cleared to take convalescent plasma, has also begun accepting donations from recovered COVID-19 patients.