SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- For the first time, we are hearing from one of the chaplains at Baystate Medical Center, working on the front lines in the hospital's COVID-19 unit.
Western Mass News looked into the triumphs as patients recover, but also in tragedy, as others reach out for spiritual guidance in their final moments.
At Baystate Medical Center, there are seven members of spiritual services...
From all denominations, working 24-7 during this COVID-19 pandemic, such as Ute Schmidt, an ordained minister with United Church of Christ and a certified spiritual care educator.
"As chaplains, we are here to provide that sense of calm and that sense of reassurance and togetherness, we are in this together," Schmidt said.
This pandemic presents challenges unlike her and her team have ever seen.
Offering any type of comfort they can to patients...
"To request a prayer, to request a virtual visit, we are here to support anyone of any faith in any capacity that they can," Schmidt explained.
Sometimes, she said, that means offering a cell phone or a Facetime to patients whose families cannot be there...as much a comfort to them, as it is to hospital staff.
"I had another patient where we Facetimed and he could see his fiance and it put a smile on his face. That smile of this patient who had been intuited for 5 days made the day for the team, the nurses and myself and the physicians who witnessed that..and I think that gives us a sense of hope that carries us through," Schmidt said.
And for the sickest patients, those who may not make it...she told us some are allowed one family member to come and say goodbye...often asking for spiritual guidance.
"A couple of weeks ago I witnessed that how a family member was in the room with their father, who was dying of COVID-19 related symptoms and she sang to him and it was, it was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time," Schmidt explained.
She calls it humbling, and a privilege to be part of these moments, during these unprecedented times.
"We are spiritual people so we use our spirituality to offer prayers and prayers work through doors and windows," Schmidt said.
Baystate Spiritual Services also has help for families who may have a loved one dealing with COVID-19.