Hero of the Day: Mom of three works ER overnight treating coronavirus patients
She’s a mom of three working 13-hour days on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis in an overnight emergency room.
“It’s definitely emotionally draining,” said 32-year-old Megan Benjamin, an ER technician at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center, one of New Jersey’s largest trauma hospitals.
“When you’re at work, you’re almost like a robot,” she told The Post. “You go in and do what you have to do, you take care of every patient, you take care of everybody that you work with, and at some point, you have to be able to decompress, and with the added stress of the pandemic that’s going on, it takes a little bit of an emotional toll.”
Last week, Benjamin was still on the clock when a shooting broke out in Ashbury Park, said her father, Gil Benjamin.
“In just one shift, she went from slipping in blood as she worked in the trauma center to spending hours in the coronavirus unit just to help others,” the dad said.
“She’s the one putting herself at risk every day. She’s the one who sometimes comes home and cries because of what she sees during the day but still goes back to work so she can help the next family, the next person.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak hit the tri-state area, Megan Benjamin has been clocking 50 to 60 hours a week — but she said that if she could, she’d be “working every single night.
“I’m willing to do that because when I first started working in this job, I solely did it because I wanted to help other people and make a difference in someone else’s life when they’re having a bad day,” she explained.
“But now with all of this going on, I have a work family, and we take care of each other. I don’t want to see my other co-workers struggle because of the volume that we have and the sick patients that we have. I don’t want them to be understaffed and for them to run themselves down.”
Benjamin said the hardest part about the pandemic is having to go days on end without seeing her kids, ages 9,4 and 2.
“I miss my babies,” Benjamin admitted as she fought back tears.
“It’s actually been a major struggle. When I’m working, my parents are helping me care for my children. … I don’t want to go see them in between shifts because I need to change my clothes and sleep.
“Then by the time I wake up, I have to go back.”
She said daily FaceTime sessions with her children, plus support from the community, are what pushes her to keep going each day.
“I’m confident that in the end we’re all going to get through it together. It’s what we do, as Americans and as healthcare workers,” Benjamin said.
“We’re all warriors.”
Do you have a nominee for The Post’s Hero of the Day? E-mail [email protected]
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