The COVID-19 crisis has brought a lot of change to the world, including how people get groceries, interact with others, and for many, their typical daily routines. This is especially true for frontline health care workers like Luke Mayes. Mayes, a registered nurse, typically spends his days caring for patients on dialysis in a hospital in Boise, Idaho. For several weeks, he was caring for patients in New York City, one of the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
People with kidney failure require life-sustaining dialysis treatment, even during a pandemic. This means that patients who receive dialysis in a center or at home must continue treatments. It also means essential health care workers, like dialysis nurses, must continue to provide care to these typically immunocompromised patients.
When the pandemic began, Mayes volunteered to uproot his normal routine to help his fellow DaVita teammates in the fight against COVID-19. Not only did Mayes volunteer to help others, he traveled across the country to do so. Even though Mayes knew this decision would be a sacrifice for his family, he wanted to “run to the fire” and help where he could the most. He knew this was New York.
Mayes shares, “I truly love to use my talents and skills to help those who need it. I am very fortunate to have a family that is holding down the fort at home, so I can assist with the massive needs across the country. I am very appreciative of my husband and our four children.”
While in New York, Mayes learned a lot and saw more than he expected. He described his new team of dialysis nurses, patient care technicians and medical directors as being incredibly supportive and providing him with all the help he needed. More than ever, Mayes felt appreciative of the resources provided, which allowed him to focus on what matters most: his patients.
Even though Mayes’ time in New York was intense, he enjoyed being able to work with a new team, care for new patients and challenge himself by learning to follow a different hospital’s guidelines. Mayes’ team continued to follow safety protocols in place to help keep his fellow teammates and patients safe. This includes wearing proper personal protective equipment and remaining six feet apart from others whenever possible while assisting in the needs of patients and fellow dialysis nurses.
While Mayes knows the work he and his team is doing is difficult, he remains inspired by his fellow teammates. “I’ve seen nurses who are tired beyond measure, but they continue to smile with their eyes because masks are covering their mouths. The nurses in New York are so incredibly thankful for the additional help and I’m proud to be a part of it all,” Mayes said. Mayes recognizes the risks he and fellow nurses take every single day and extends his gratitude to nurses everywhere for the work they are doing to care for others.
Most people can’t imagine why Mayes would travel across the country to support one of the hardest hit states in the U.S. Mayes tells people, “I am just a guy with a big heart. I came to New York for the same reason that I became a dialysis nurse in the first place. I felt called to help people in my life and I knew this was how I could help the most.”
To learn more about the vital role dialysis nurses like Luke Mayes play in the fight against COVID, visit DaVita.com/Heroes.