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Hero of the Day: Manhattan Nurse Holds “Hope Huddles” to Combat Coronavirus Woes

For nearly two weeks, a Manhattan man in his 20s languished on a ventilator at Lenox Hill Hospital as the coronavirus laid siege to his lungs. 

But as soon as he woke up, he was asking his ICU nurse out for a date. 

That’s just one of the uplifting — and sometimes funny — stories that Lenox Hill staffers have been sharing with each other since colleague and registered nurse Emily Fawcett started a “Hope Huddle” for workers there. 

It’s a moment for staffers to come together and share some good news about their patients before heading back to the front lines. 

Fawcett held the first “Hope Huddle” about a week and a half ago — and now the inspiring sessions are occurring daily on every floor in every department.

“It really just came about to spread positivity, good patient outcomes, how we’re really saving lives here at Lenox Hill and to kind of increase the morale and give us a little pep in our step,” Fawcett, 30, told The New York Post.

“The Hope Huddles are bringing hope to our hospital, and they’re bringing a little light.” 

Fawcett, a Connecticut native, is no stranger to disasters. 

She was part of one of the first civilian groups to go to Puerto Rico after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. She also regularly goes to Kenya to run free community health clinics and was just aboard the USNS Comfort in August, when the naval hospital ship responded to the crisis in Venezuela

So when Fawcett — a “float nurse” who works on every floor of Lenox — heard horrific stories from workers in the emergency room there amid the coronavirus, she knew she had to spread some positivity.

“We’re truly in a war zone here,” Fawcett explained. 

Emily Fawcett leads a “Hope Huddle” at Lenox Hill Hospital.

“These are nurses that are tough as nails. … But I was on this text thread with them, and they were saying how horrible it’s been [in the emergency room], how upset they are. One of them said it was the first time that they had ever in their life cried at work. And they’re just so completely overwhelmed and upset and overcome with emotion.”

But since she moves around the hospital, Fawcett had a bunch of success stories about patients who made full recoveries after entering in critical condition, so she started sharing them with the emergency-room nurses and soon brought the practice hospital-wide with the “Hope Huddle.” 

“They were so grateful for this amazing information about their patients,” Fawcett said of her coworkers. 

Christen Cudina, a 30-year-old assistant nurse manager in the emergency department, attended a “Hope Huddle” Thursday afternoon with an ICU nurse who shared how many patients got off ventilators over the last week. 

The good news gave her and her staff the boost they needed.  

“Hearing five people [were] getting extubated and 13 people [in the ICU unit were] stepping down to lower levels of care, meaning… they’re starting to improve and they don’t need to be in an ICU anymore, just hearing those overall numbers is super inspiring,” Cudina told The New York Post. 

“There’s some people who are going home, and they’re OK, and they’re not dying and all of that, so that’s nice to be able to share with other people,” Cudina said. 

“It’s helping to keep the staff coming back every day and still working really hard and doing what they do best.”

By Gabrielle Fonrouge.   The New York Post  April 5, 2020

We are greatly indebted to Emily Fawcett, Christen Cudina and the many, many nurses, doctors, paramedics, health professionals, and hospital cleaning personnel who are everyday risking their lives for you and me.

YOU TOO can organize a “Hope Huddle” via a telephone conference call, online or with neighbors at a safe distance.

That is exactly how the Risen Jesus started the Church – as a “Hope Huddle” in the Upper Room when the Risen Jesus appeared to his Apostles. 

YOU TOO can have a “Hope Huddle” this Easter with the Risen Jesus!!  Just Do It!!!

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