AMES, Iowa — Mary Greeley Medical Center on Tuesday marked one year since it lost its first patient to COVID-19.
Since a year ago, 57 people have died at the Ames hospital and around 600 people were treated for COVID-19. On Tuesday, a group of employees at Mary Greeley gathered to honor the lives lost and their families.
At the end of the ceremony, they played “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, which sounded through the hospital each time a patient was taken off a respirator. Employees reflected on a year like no other at the hospital.
“Something you couldn’t prepare for was the emotional effect it would have on all of us. We are used to patients that don’t always make it. Death and dying is part of working in the health profession and we do see that, but we saw it on a whole different level with COVID-19,” said Sharilyn Kadolph, a respiratory therapist. “Especially in the winter months when we had that surge, it was not always a positive outcome and that was hard. It was just draining on you emotionally.”
Mike Ose of Story City lost his wife to COVID-19 at Mary Greeley. Mike said his wife, Kathy, was always a strong woman and never had any medical problems. She developed a cough and felt sick for a few days so they decided to take her to the hospital. She went on a ventilator soon after. Kathy died on Sept. 7, 2020, which was Mike’s birthday and in the same hospital he was born in.
“No talking, no thoughts, no final goodbyes, no nothing,” said Mike. He added he is grateful he was able to spend the last hours with her in person inside a protective suit.
“It was an awful two weeks, but it was just so nice to have this facility this close and have these kinds of people working with her that two weeks. It meant the world to me and my family,” said Mike.