FEBRUARY 2021 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 31
HONORS HEALTHCARE HEROES
Healthcare workers cloaked in hazmat suits at a ProHEALTH Covid-19 testing
to take time to exercise and get fresh air
and sunshine,” she said.
Staff also distributed educational and
instructional packets with updated
information on Covid.
At a time of great fear and uncertainty,
“We provided a sense of relief in
the community because many of the
patients did not understand how to
process major changes in their daily
life activities,” added Patel.
NYU LANGONE HOSPITAL
PRESERVES THE MIRACLE
Healthcare heroes at NYU Langone
Hospital—Long Island also saw their
responsibilities change practically
overnight, particularly in Labor and
During the height of the pandemic,
Catherine Bell, a nurse manager in
Labor and Delivery, led her team in
the care of acute, adult COVID patients
when one side of the mother/baby unit
was converted to an adult unit. She also
managed the other half of the unit with
moms and babies. Bell says that the
patients in Labor and Delivery/maternity
units are typically healthy women
of childbearing age, hence the nursing
responsibilities and experiences were
also drastically different than in other
“Our population of patients is very
unique,” she said. “They are healthy—
they had a baby, they have needs, and
we have to take care of them—but they
are not sick. It is a very different type
of nursing than that of other nurses in
Nurses were confronted with horrific
experiences that most of them had never
encountered, Bell said.
“I have been doing mother-baby maternity,
labor and delivery for 36 years,”
she said. “That’s all I know.”
Bell added that most of the nurses
she worked with share similar work
histories. The night that her unit was
converted was one she will never forget.
Bell received a phone call from a nurse
at 12:30 a.m. one morning in March.
“The nurse said, ‘Cathy, it’s happening,’”
she recalled. “It went from zero
population to every room was full.
Within hours, I went from talking about
breasts, lactating, and breastfeeding to,
‘Wait, how old is this woman? She’s 92.’”
Bell recalls having conversations with
patients one moment and then suddenly
needing to call rapid response, thinking
they had to be intubated. Within a few
days of the conversion, “we had our first
death,” Bell said. To a unit of labor and
delivery/maternity nurses, the entire
experience was “shocking,” Bell said.
“Our unit is primarily a happy place,”
she said. “We have the babies. We have
Bell said she and the other nurses
stood strong and carried their patients
and each other through the process.
She assured her staff she was right
there with them and that they could
count on her to work alongside them.
For her abor and Delivery patients,
she and the other nurses worked
wholeheartedly to help maintain a
sense of normalcy for an optimal and
special birth experience in spite of all
the changes and looming fear in the
“Every day, we learned something
new,” said Christine Boyd, R.N., NYU
Winthrop. “We had to stay on top of
everything. If mom was positive, the
baby went to the pediatric floor and
the mom would stay in the hospital. We
were discharging after 24 hours after
delivery, 48 hours for a C-section.”
Most mothers, if cleared, couldn’t wait
to go home.
“There were sick moms and there
were moms that got vented,” Boyd said.
“We tested every single mother right
when they came in.”
Hospital staff are still testing, Boyd
“It was a different way of doing the
delivery with the couple but we made
it work,” Boyd said, adding that for
husbands or other support persons
that could not be present in the delivery
room, they would FaceTime.
Patients were scared. Boyd says nurses
provided additional comfort and support
to ease their fears.
“That moment your child is being
born— you can’t get that back, and I
didn’t want it to be panic,” she said. “We
didn’t want them to lose out on a most
Boyd recalled one patient who was on a
ventilator when her baby was delivered
“It was very hard to think, ‘Was she
going to wake up and see her child?
Was the child going to see her mother?’”
Thankfully, this family’s story had a
happy ending,” said Boyd. About one
week following the baby’s birth, “they
brought me to the NICU when the mom
was holding the baby and I got to be
there when she was discharged home.”
Boyd was overwhelmed with joy.
“I was just so happy, I started to cry
happy tears,” she recalled. “To see her
awake and holding her baby was pretty
amazing and I know it was the work of
the entire hospital from the NICU staff
to the ICU staff to the residents, the attendings,
Healthcare heroes agree that it was
these types of success stories, the support
of their respective medical care
institutions, as well as the outpouring
of community support that helped them
persevere and do their jobs. Gratitude
was felt everywhere, Boyd recalled.
“We could feel the support of the community
on the outside, too,” she said.
“There were people with signs thanking
us and it was so appreciated to have that
Parents Justine and Rich DeJoseph welcome their baby at NYU- Langone
Hospital — Long Island. Photo Credit: NYU- Langone Hospital — Long Island
site. Photo credit: ProHEALTH Urgent Care
Christine Boyd, R.N., in the Labor
and Delivery Unit at NYU Langone
Hospital — Long Island. Photo credit:
NYU Langone Hospital — Long Island