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Profile of a COVID Hero

Angela Scott

Even as a kid, Angela Scott knew she wanted to end up working in healthcare. “I just wanted to help people,” Scott said. “I wanted to make people feel better.” As a respiratory therapist at Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek, she fulfills this mission every day.

When Scott first started out in respiratory, she worked at Dayton Children’s, where she got to experience a number of different environments. “I was trained to work in the ICU [intensive care unit] there. I did transport; I did CareFlight.”

The ability to work in a diverse set of scenarios and roll with the punches proved invaluable last year, when the United States was hit with its worst pandemic in a century. The pandemic thrust the nation into chaos and healthcare workers into an even more stressful environment than usual.

There was a calm before the storm. When the virus was just starting to hit our shores, Governor DeWine asked people to stay home unless they had to be out; and for the most part, they did. “There was nobody [at the hospital],” Scott said. “It was so bizarre, because it’s always bustling and busy.”

Even at that time, Scott knew it was about to get intense. “My boss does a good job preparing us, and she told us it was coming.” Soin got its first COVID-19 patient; and in a matter of days, coronavirus cases started to overrun the hospital. “After one, they just kept coming,” Scott said. “It got really bad. At Soin one floor was designated for COVID—50-plus beds. People started trickling in and not getting better. Some people did, but a lot of people needed to be ventilated. A lot of people didn’t make it.”

As the pandemic grew in scale and there wasn’t enough of a staff to get everyone the care that they needed, traveling crews of doctors and nurses came in to back up the regular hospital staffers. With the help of those crews, doctors and nurses rotated in and out of the COVID-19 designated area. “We tried to rotate people into the designated area,” Scott said, “because it’s stressful, and it’s depressing.” Many days the situation was incredibly bleak. “I worked in the designated area a lot, and I was there for a period of about three weeks. You’d have two or three people trying to die in a given shift.”

There were and are multiple scales to view the pandemic from. Every day there were new patients who needed help, but there were also the patients who spent months fighting. “Beyond the day to day, there were also long-term patients who never got better,” Scott said. “I would have a patient for a month, and they’d still unfortunately end up passing. And you’d get attached to these people. That happened multiple times throughout phase one. There were some tears shed.”

Of course, there were also many success stories. “There’s been a lot of bad, but there’s been some good through this too,” Scott said. “Some who were moderately sick got to go home. We had a patient who was there for months. She was very, very sick, and she got to go home. That was great to see.”

Angela’s husband, Greg Scott, said that her ability to provide excellent care to her patients and still have the energy to be a great wife and mother impresses him the most. “Angela doesn’t miss a beat as a wife or mother. Even with all of the stress that she’s under, Angela’s a terrific mother and wife, and doesn’t miss a beat with her family.”

While it might seem as if the spread of the virus has slowed, Scott said that hospitals across the area are filling up again, as the delta variant has grown in reach and people may have let their guard down. Scott said the same boss who warned the staff that the virus was on its way last March has given indications that the next couple months are going to be rough. “I feel like this is going to keep growing and evolving,” Scott said. “Either you get vaccinated, or you don’t get vaccinated. It’s your choice. But if you don’t get vaccinated, wear a mask. And now with this strain, they’re saying to wear a mask [either way]—because it’s that contagious, and it’s spreading faster.”

Scott shared that her boss also gave a reminder that the efforts Scott and her colleagues have put in over the last 18 months is a reason for optimism. “It’s gonna be bad, again. But we made it through; we’ve done this before.”