Frontline Heroes: Clayton nurse puts heart in fighting virus in the epicenter

Miami Valley News

CLAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — For a Clayton Hospice nurse it was instinct to help battle the coronavirus in the heart of New York City.

“She doesn’t see herself as a hero. She sees herself as a nurse,” says Staci Hedke’s mom, Connie Bittorf.

For three weeks, 40-year-old Staci Hedke put her life at risk to save others at Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem.

“Staci has a huge heart. She’s very much a giver,” says Connie.

At the end of March, the Hospice nurse, who’s a wife and mother of four, volunteered to travel to the epicenter, working 12 hour shifts for 21 days straight.

“Being a Hospice nurse you give comfort care at the end of life stage,” describes Connie.

Faced with a harsh reality, Staci says patients were dying without that comfort. She says they weren’t being given pain medication because it could lower respiration.

“She said, ‘Mom, it’s true. People are dying right and left,'” says Connie.

Staci says nurses there celebrated any victory, no matter how small.

“That’s one of the reasons the nurses were dancing in the halls. A patient actually went home. Very few people go home,” states Connie.

Despite the danger, Staci knew it was where she belonged.

“She had been praying for years that if there was some thing she could do to help make a difference that God would let her know,” says Connie.

Staci returned home Saturday. She says if another outbreak should occur there, she will go back again because it’s her calling.

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