'They are heroes': MercyOne North Iowa honors health care workers | KAALTV.com

'They are heroes': MercyOne North Iowa honors health care workers

Created: May 10, 2021 10:21 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Health care workers are making tremendous sacrifices to keep people alive amid the pandemic.

In the past year, they've put themselves and their families at risk of contracting COVID-19, and worked long hours at overwhelmed hospitals.

Senior leadership at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center held a ceremony Monday to commemorate their own staff's work.

Sometimes, difficult times in our lives force us to rely on each other. It's what Emily Orton and Linda Latham had to do.

"That's what kept me going was just these amazing people," Orton said. 

That and, "Praying. [We] prayed a lot," Latham said.

Latham serves as the medical center's director for women's and children's services, while Orton is the director for the center's critical care and nursing administration. 

The pandemic threw challenges neither could prepare for. 

"It felt like things were changing daily," Orton said.

But they stayed strong, not just for patients, but the workers they oversee. 

"How do you ever tell them thank you enough for what they've been through?" Orton said. 

Monday, they and other medical center leaders did their best to say thanks. Neighbors did so with a card to greet staff. Senior leadership later unveiled a new statue to honor them.

"This is just a small token of our appreciation," Rod Schlader, president said. "We really are thankful for the work they did."

Chief Nursing Officer Kim Chamberlin has been a nurse for more than forty years but she said the past fourteen months has been her toughest yet. Thankfully, she had her colleagues.

"They are heroes. They were on a battlefield and they were triumphant," Chamberlin said.

While the pandemic has made an impact, it's also bringing health care workers closer. 

"If you know anybody whose been in healthcare, thank them," Orton said. "They've been through a heck of a year."

MercyOne North Iowa leaders said it discharged more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients this past year.

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