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Viral photo of nurse breaking down after a stillborn delivery shows emotional toll of profession

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Nurses do so much for their patients and are very often a source of strength during times of horrible tragedy. But a heartbreaking viral photo posted to Facebook reveals the emotional toll the profession takes on the people who do their best to help others.

"She's gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?" wrote Laura McIntyre on the platform earlier this month. She included an image of her sister, Caty Nixon, a labor & delivery nurse at Medical City McKinney in Texas, reports CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.

The picture, which was taken in July, shows the woman wearing blue scrubs, with a plate of food on her lap and wiping what appear to be tears from her face.

McIntyre explained that her sister had just finished her fourth consecutive shift at work — amounting to over 53 hours of work in just four days. She added that she doesn't often get the opportunity to eat lunch or drink water because "she often forgets how to take care of herself while she's taking care of her patients."

she's gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute? • caty just wrapped up her fourth...

Posted by Laura McIntyre on Thursday, October 10, 2019

The sister said the photo was snapped when Caty came over after an especially hard day this summer.

"She delivered a stillborn. have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees?" McIntyre asked. "They see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic & anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called. they see peace when the mom has support from her family - bc not all new moms do. they see teenagers giving birth. they see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing. they see cps come. they see funeral homes come."

She finished the post by thanking nurses for all that they do and emphasizing that those in the profession are special.

The post went viral, garnering over 21,000 comments and 123,000 shares at press time. 

While McIntyre was initially nervous her sister would be angry about the photo, Nixon eventually appreciated the sentiment, reports CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. "The way Laura writes and puts the emotion of pictures into words is just astounding to me and I just think she did it so perfectly with that picture," Nixon told the outlet.

McIntyre said she has received many messages of thanks from all over the globe.  "I just think the positivity of it is the most amazing thing. Just to spread love," she said.

Medical City McKinney also released a statement, lauding their dedicated employee: 

"Caty Nixon is a wonderful example of the incredible knowledge, skill, and compassion of our dedicated Medical City Healthcare nursing colleagues. A nurse's responsibility is huge, their commitment is endless, and their impact immeasurable — we applaud Caty for exemplifying the dedication and compassion of nurses everywhere."

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