Staten Island Nurse Who Lost Mother To Pandemic Recovers From COVID-19
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - CBS2 is continuing to share the stories of people who bravely fought and beat COVID-19.
Natalie Duddridge met a Staten Island nurse who lost her mother to the coronavirus, while she was battling it herself.
In early March, before Pam Eng ever had to suit up in layers of protective gear at work, she treated a patient at Richmond University Medical Center who, unbeknownst to the staff, had COVID-19.
"We didn't think about it. We didn't test at that time," said Eng. "And then I got sick, and then other people got sick."
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More than 20 of Eng's colleagues in the ICU had contracted the virus by the end of March. Several, including Eng, also came down with pneumonia.
"When I was getting sick, I didn't tell my family because I didn't want them to worry," said Eng. "I didn't want to tell my mom because she's the biggest worrier."
Eng eventually got in touch with her mom, who revealed she was also sick. Eng said the two had not seen each other in weeks.
While Eng was recovering at home, her mom, Regina, 79, checked into the hospital.
"She couldn't breathe," said Eng. "I tried to get in, but I was still sick. So, they wouldn't let me in... . By the time I cleared myself to go back to work, my mom was on a [ventilator]. So, I spent her last days in the hospital with her."
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Eng is one of countless health care workers who have lost loved ones to the pandemic.
Eng beat the virus, but is worried rallies across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death could spark a second wave.
"We know that it's airborne. We know proximity is just so conducive and rioters are shouting, screaming, so there's natural spit," said Eng. "We're just going to have to wait and see."
Eng said her only request to demonstrators is that they are considerate and wear masks.
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