‘I Really Wasn’t Fazed’: Nurse Recounts Treating Boris Johnson For COVID-19

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQ's on March 25, 2020 in London, England. British parliament will be suspended tonight due to concerns about the spread of COVID... LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQ's on March 25, 2020 in London, England. British parliament will be suspended tonight due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. It had previously been scheduled to break for Easter on March 31; it will tentatively sit again on April 21. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 18,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 23, 2020 9:55 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Nurse Jenny from New Zealand says that helping save somebody as notable as Boris Johnson in his battle with the coronavirus didn’t faze her thanks to her years of dealing with stressful situations in intensive care wards.

Jenny McGee was one of two National Health Service nurses who were singled out for praise by the British prime minister after he was discharged from St. Thomas’ Hospital in London earlier this month. Johnson, 55, was the first world leader confirmed to have the virus.

In an interview with Television New Zealand that aired Thursday, McGee said the staff treated Johnson as just another patient. She has worked for 10 years in intensive care, including five as a leader.

“When I got in the car after work each night and I could hear things about Boris Johnson on the news. That was very surreal because I thought ‘Wow. I’ve been looking after him,’” she said. “But I really wasn’t fazed by looking after Boris Johnson.”

But she was taken by surprise when he mentioned her by name.

“My first reaction was that it was a joke. I thought my friends were playing a joke on me. I wasn’t expecting it,” she said.

McGee told TVNZ that in her role she is constantly monitoring her patients and giving feedback to the doctor.

Johnson had said the nurses — he also praised Luis from Portugal — made needed interventions, but McGee declined to say what they were out of respect for patient privacy.

“He was interested in where I came from and what my story was, and we spent a lot of time together and we talked away about New Zealand,” McGee said.

She said another shock came when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern messaged her.

“So on the night that it happened I had to turn my phone off because it was so overwhelming and when I turned my phone on in the morning people were like ‘Jenny, you need to look at your Facebook’ and I was called a snob for not responding to Jacinda,” she said, laughing.

“She’s a hero of mine. I think she’s amazing, she just said how proud she was of me and the country was so proud and it was so heart-warming and that’s something I will never forget.”

McGee told TVNZ the work during the pandemic has been physically exhausting and emotionally straining as she and her colleagues do their best to save as many lives as they can.

“The darkest moment most definitely is being with someone who has passed away and their family is not there,” she said.

She said there remains a wonderful sense of spirit and teamwork in the NHS and everyone is supporting each other.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: