Health Care Workers In Utah, NY Reflect On Mutual COVID Help One Year Later

Apr 30, 2021, 2:06 PM | Updated: 2:11 pm

MURRAY, Utah – Intermountain Healthcare workers reunited with some of their East Coast counterparts on Friday to mark one year since 100 caregivers traveled to New York City hospitals to help with COVID-19 patients.

“I think I found out two days before we got on the airplane that I was coming, and to be honest, I was terrified,” said Intermountain ICU nurse Whitney Hilton.

That fear was met with strength as they witnessed firsthand what COVID-19 looked like in New York hospitals.

“I got to go to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and when I stepped into there, the first words that came to my mind were, ‘This is a modern war,’” said Hilton.

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But the team, composed of workers from Intermountain Healthcare, Northwell Health and New York-Presbyterian Hospitals, overcame those worries to fight the first major surge in the U.S.

“We went as a team and we joined an amazing team,” said Dixie Harris, a critical care ICU physician with Intermountain Healthcare.

Intermountain caregivers learned from the experience and prepared to apply it here at home.

“Seeing is believing, and I really felt like we were so fortunate to see it from the inside and really believe what coronavirus could do to the community,” said Hilton.

“While you were hosting us we were able to help save our own community and to prevent things that were coming for us that we would not have been able to see,” added Intermountain ER nurse Libbey Steed.

It’s now been a year since those 100 Intermountain employees went to New York to help, and some of those same health care workers from New York returned the favor to Utah during our own surge — no questions asked.

“Like, absolutely, this is our turn to give back what the help that we got,” said Madison Montague, a cardiothoracic ICU nurse at Northwell Health’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

Over 2,000 miles apart, they are close at heart from the unity that grew from one of the darkest times.

“Now whenever I wear an ‘I love New York’ t-shirt, I mean it from the bottom of my heart because I think about all the people who are out there — the nurses, the respiratory therapists and those patients — I love New Yorkers,” said Intermountain ER physician Dr. Wing Province.

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Health Care Workers In Utah, NY Reflect On Mutual COVID Help One Year Later