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Indianapolis Nurse Responds To New York Governor's Call For Help

Screenshot from Zoom call

Carolyn Scott made the decision to travel to New York to help hospitals in the hardest-hit city in the U.S. (Screenshot from Zoom call)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked healthcare workers nationwide to come help his state battle the COVID-19 pandemic. An Indianapolis nurse answered the call for help.

Carolyn Scott returned home to Indianapolis to work at Eskenazi Health as a registered nurse in October after spending time as a traveling nurse in California.

Fast forward five months — and a global pandemic was overwhelming hospitals and health care workers. New York, one of the earliest states to issue an emergency order, starting canvassing the county for medical staff who could come help. 

Carolyn was licensed in New York. The governor’s mission and leadership struck a chord with her. After some time debating and weighing the needs of her own hospital in Indianapolis she decided to go. 

"I was really proud of how they were handling the situation and I felt they were adequately staffed," Carolyn said. "So I felt I should come out here and try to do my little part."

Queens and Kings counties, where Brooklyn is located, are the two hardest-hit counties in the country, with more than 97,000 reported cases.

In a city notorious for having a difficult housing market, Carolyn found several Airbnb hosts were not accepting medical workers out of fear of catching the virus. She eventually did find one willing to host her. 

Carolyn is on an eight-week contract at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital where she is working directly with COVID-19 patients. 

At first, she was thrown off by the changes in normal procedures due to the lack of some supplies. 

Carolyn Scott wearing PPE
(Photo courtesy of Carolyn Scott)

"At first it was really jarring," Carolyn says. "Then you just kind of had to accept this is the situation we are in when we have limited supplies. That it’s not going to be done in the same way we are used to."

There have been shortages of personal protective equipment across the country as the number of COVID-19 cases has increased. Carolyn has found herself using N-95 masks until they are soiled or falling off and changing disposable gowns less often to reserve the supply.

Carolyn's family has been sending her masks to help prolong the life of her N-95 masks. Carolyn’s mother, Regina Scott, has been sewing them for her.

"Healthcare workers need them every day and they don’t want to wash every day," Regina said. "So the majority of the masks I made or a good portion of them went directly to Carolyn.”

Masks made for Carolyn.
(Courtesy of Regina Scott)

Carolyn says she has noticed some trends among the patients she is working with. Most are over the age of 40. And those who have conditions such as diabetes and obesity have had a hard time recovering from the virus. 

She stresses the need to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially if you have an underlying condition.

"Just having your body in the best place it can be to fight it off," Carolyn said. "I feel like it is your best option right now until we know further about what treatments can be done.” 

Eskenazi Health was unable to keep Carolyn's position for her, but she says she hopes the hospital will be able to re-hire her after things calm down. It might not be an issue for a while, though, because she says she’s not hopeful the COVID-19 crisis will let up anytime soon. 

Contact Matt at or on Twitter @Matt_Rasnic.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

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