Davis Perkins has volunteered with Heart to Heart International for disaster responses to Hurricane Irma in Florida, the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, the earthquake in Nepal, and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. In April, he added New York City to his list as he traveled to help relieve hospital staffing shortages during the peak of the city’s COVID-19 cases.
Davis answered some questions about his time in New York and shared some thoughts from his experience there. We’ve included his answers below.
(Pictured: Davis on the right with fellow HHI volunteer Jeff Alpert in New York City.)
HHI: What made you decide to volunteer for to go to New York?
Davis: I decided to go based on the ongoing crisis in NYC. I had already deployed with a DMAT team down to San Diego, to support the passengers coming off the cruise ship.
HHI: What most surprised you about your experience?
Davis: What surprised me most was the vast numbers of seriously ill patients. I had a good friend who’s a paramedic in NYC, and he gave me a lot of information. I had some forewarning of course, but seeing it first-hand was intense. A busy time!
HHI: What were your impressions of the other healthcare workers/hospital staff?
Davis: My impressions of the staff at Jamaica Hospital was first rate! They were wonderful. When I first arrived, introduced myself and “dove in”, they all appreciated the help. I made some new friends there! Due to my past (firefighter/paramedic), I also had a great experience with the on duty medics from FDNY. They were also SO appreciative of the help!
HHI: How would this volunteer experience compare to others you have had in the past?
Davis: In 2017 I was sent to Iraq during the Battle for Mosul. I was on a trauma team treating battle casualties. NYC was the closest to that intense experience. I also was in Liberia with HHI for the Ebola crisis. This was similar with the realization of how serious the virus is.
HHI: What parts of the experience most resonated with you?
Davis: Again, the intensity. The large numbers of serious patients, Also, just the sincere appreciation of people from NYC, and the outpouring of support. Also the HR staff at Jamaica was wonderful!