fbpx

Heroes of the Pandemic: Anakarla Perozo

Anakarla Perozo

Trauma ICU nurse, Kendall Regional Medical Center 

Background: As the first member of her family to pursue a career in medicine, Perozo, 29, has had a desire to help people for as long as she can remember. “My mom always wondered why I wanted to do this,” she says. “There [are] no doctors in our family. It came out of nowhere.” After moving to Miami from Cuba more than a decade ago, Perozo enrolled in Miami-Dade College and then Florida International University to study nursing. She began her career at Westchester General Hospital and later transitioned to Kendall Regional, a Level 1 trauma center, to work in the ICU. This August marks one year working with some of the hospital’s sickest and most critical patients. “This is what I’m going to do my entire life––pandemic or no pandemic,” she says. “In the ICU, you have the chance to change a patient’s life forever. 

Pandemic stories: Two years ago, when Perozo began her career in nursing, she never imagined she would provide care to patients during a pandemic. Though medical professionals like Perozo prepare for this moment throughout their practice, many never experience an outbreak like COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is like going back to school,” she says. “We’re learning more every day to help our patients.”

The hardest lesson Perozo has learned is the need to protect herself before assisting others. It’s something she still struggles with today, months into the fight against coronavirus. 

“Before COVID-19, I would see a patient in need and drop everything to help them,” she explains. “You forget about the precautions and protocols. Your first thought is to save their life. That’s still true today, but if I don’t protect myself, and I get infected, what help am I then?”

One of Perozo’s first experiences with the virus was a 55-year-old woman, the same age as Perozo’s mother, who was put into the ICU after her diagnosis. Though the woman wasn’t Perozo’s patient, she watched from a distance as doctors attempted to stabilize her.

“She was bleeding from everywhere you can think of,” she remembers. “I’ll never forget when one of the doctors said they were going to have to warn the family that this would be the end, and they had done everything they could to try to save her.

“Seeing how bad this can turn and what coronavirus can transform into … it changes you. Protect yourself. Protect others. If you must leave your house, be smart about it. Wear a mask.”

Perozo is bracing herself for subsequent virus peaks, which she expects to see through the new year and possibly beyond. “This is really, really bad,” she says. “We go from the unit being empty and thinking we experienced the worst of it to, out of the blue, dozens and dozens of cases. This is our new normal.”

You May Also Like

Renowned Broward County Philanthropist, Susie Levan, Dies at 73

The wife of Alan Levan, Chairman of BBX Capital, Inc., left an indelible mark on the community.

He Nose Best

Dr. Lee Mandel provides insight on the leaps and investments needed to make a mark in the medical space.

South Florida’s Food Scene Flourishes Thanks to Mike Linder’s Unique Approach

His emphasis on food quality, exceptional service, and innovative location choices is paying off.

How IDDI’s ‘Brandstorming’ Marries Design and the Bottom Line

It’s all about design with a purpose for Sherif Ayad and ID & Design International.

Other Posts

Editor’s Letter: An Overlooked Abundance

A couple of months ago, someone posed this question on reddit.com/florida: “Why is Florida’s music industry so weak?” In case you missed the point, they continued, “I don’t think Florida has a very consolidated music scene. It almost feels like folks here are mostly thrilled by novelty and high-energy eccentricity.” Well, ouch. We may not

Kevin Gale
Live and Up Close: Shaw Davis & the Black Ties

“I don’t see my life any other way but as a musician.”

Live and Up Close: My Weekend Therapy

“I was going through a breakup, so I started going to a therapist and he said, ‘You do music, that’s your weekend therapy.’”

Live and Up Close: Ryan Hopkins

“I hope that when people see me perform they realize how much my heart is in it. I’ll put on the same show whether I’m playing to five people or 300.”