JOPLIN, Mo. — When the call came for medical personnel to help fight covid-19 in the nation’s epicenter, a Joplin nurse dropped everything and went to New York.
She quit her job, left the state and her family, and got on a plane — all for the first time in her life — to care for hundreds of critically ill patients.
Meghan Lindsey, Registered Nurse, said, “My eyes were opened that covid is definitely disastrous. And there is a fight and a war to be fought here.”
Joplin ICU Nurse, Meghan Lindsey, felt like it was a sign from god when called upon to volunteer at a New York hospital during the covid-19 pandemic two weeks ago.
“I’d never traveled before, I’d never left Missouri. Flying out on that Tuesday was the first time I’ve ever been in a plane. Flying to New York was the first time I’ve ever seen the ocean.”
She quit her job, and left her two young kids and husband for the first time.
She didn’t know what to expect in joining the team at NYU Winthrop Hospital, she just knew they desperately needed help.
“The first day we got there we were told there’s like 400 ventilated patients. I was working in an ICU that was created in a day, it’s actually it was a library/convention hall that they just threw up an ICU in.”
She described it as stepping into a different world.
“My first day on the floor I cried a lot. Because it was my first time really seeing covid patients, they are so sick and it was just shocking.”
Patients with the same illness, each experiencing an individual fight.
“You have someone who is asymptomatic and someone who just can’t last a day or two. It just hits them and they’re gone.”
Her former work in hospice also ended up coming into play during end of life care.
“I had a patient who was passing and we knew he was passing soon. And I had to stop being a nurse and I had to sit down beside him and stand-in for his family, because I didn’t want him to die alone.”
Of the 300-400 volunteers alongside her, she found familiar faces.
“We’ve actually ran into several nurses that we’ve worked with in Joplin before, so there is definitely a support group out here that I didn’t anticipate having.”
In two more weeks, she’ll return home to Southwest Missouri.
She’ll be jobless — but feels the lessons she’s learned will pay out tenfold.
“I hope that my new skill set and my experience will continue to serve me because I feel like it’s definitely the best experience I’ve ever had.”
Meghan believes social distancing and stay-at-home orders have been helping, with hospital admissions slowing down.
But she believes we should continue to be cautious, saying the fight against covid-19 isn’t over.