Panama City nurse practitioner goes to New York to help amid coronavirus pandemic

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – One local nurse practitioner felt called to go help at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic: New York City.

“We were watching the numbers at home about New York and it was this awful news there is 700 deaths today , 750 deaths today, 800 deaths today and we just kept watching the toll from home and it was heartbreaking,” Hetrick said. “I just kind of thought and prayed about it and prayed about it again and prayed about it again and I just kept filling this nudge from a spiritual angle that said you’re needed. Go.”

Lindsay Hetrick left her home, her wife and three kids in Lynn Haven to spend two weeks in the epicenter of the coronavirus, working the nightshift in the ICU of a Manhattan hospital.

“I expected it to be patients in the hallways and patients in the stairwells and patients outside, just absolute chaos. and not to say it wasn’t chaos when I got there it absolutely was,” Hetrick said.

Hetrick was part of a group of hundreds of nurses from all over the country, coming to New York to help where they were needed most.

“None of us knew each other before any of this, but 2 a.m., every morning we would meet and eat and decompress and vent and laugh and cry and it was an awesome little group of people,” Hetrick said.

She says her new colleagues at the hospital were so appreciative they were there.

“The nurses in NY were phenomenal. Everyone just kind of opened their arms and said thank you for coming, thank you for coming. I must have heard that a hundred times a day. Everyday I was there,” she said.

She says the agency that put them up in the hotel and the people of New York were equally as caring.

“They spoiled us so much. they checked on us all the time,” Hetrick said. “They had therapy dogs in the hotel for us to love on and get the love tank filled up a little bit.”

Hetrick is no stranger to disaster. She spent five days inside Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center during Hurricane Michael.

“It seems like pandemics or natural disasters or high stress health care workers always seem to do the same thing I’ve seen it in both places everybody just kind of comes together and you get through it and you go into survival mode,” she said.

Hurricane Michael was perhaps part of a larger plan for Lindsay she didn’t realize at the time.

“Its funny I remember saying to myself when all that happened you know if I ever have the chance to give this back to a nurse that needs to go home and take care of their families, I’ll do it, I’ll be there. We’re not heroes we’re just nurses and we’re tired so give us some love,” Hetrick said.

Hetrick is back home now as she returned from New York on May 10.

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