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Nurse gave up her retirement to work during the pandemic and died of coronavirus | The State

Nurse gave up her retirement to work during the pandemic and died of coronavirus

The 79-year-old woman had already served the required time to retire, but did not want to.


Betty Grier Gallagher worked as a nurse for over 50 years, 43 of them in an Alabama state hospital. In 2020 I already had the seniority and the requirements to spare to retire. But the pandemic arrived and he did not want to withdraw, because he felt that he had to help his patients and also his colleagues, in a very difficult health moment.

So it was that Betty did not heed the requests of her companions to take shelter at home, and stayed to fight the disease on the front line. Until sadly in December he contracted the coronavirus. Finally, on January 10 he died at Coosa Valley Medical Center, where he had worked for much of his life. He was one day before his 79th birthday.

Betty worked an emergency night shift at the aforementioned health center in the small town of Sylacauga. Her peers regarded her as a “mother.” Miss Betty loved to advise, help, and even be a psychologist and mentor to the younger nurses. And just as he cared for his colleagues, he also cared for his patients. She made everyone feel like part of a family. She was everyone’s favorite nurse.

And since everyone liked her well, it was obvious that when the pandemic hit, due to her age, they would ask her to retire and rest at home. Enough had been dedicated to the community in his half century of work. But she was not one of those who sit down to rest when crises arise. And she stayed, because she knew they would need her.

“She didn’t do that to get noticed. She did it because she was like that, and that was her calling. This was the purpose and plan for his life, ”his son Carson Grier Jr. told CNN.

“She was the type of person who cares about you as a nurse as much as she cares about a patient,” colleague Nikki Jo Hatten told the same outlet.

“Miss Betty” knew everyone’s name in the ER, as well as the names of their partners, children and pets, Hatten said. He appeared with a bag of hamburgers to feed anyone who forgot to bring food for their 12-hour shift. She showed the same love to her colleagues and her patients, as she did to her family and children. “She was the cure for an anxiety attack,” Hatten concluded.

On December 19, Hatten herself noticed that the indefatigable “Miss Betty” was out of breath during her rounds. The next day, he tested positive for COVID-19 and would already stay in Coosa Valley until his death.

Her colleagues recall that even when she was confined to her hospital bed, Betty’s main concern was the well-being of her colleagues.

On New Years Eve, the dearest nurse called a colleague and asked him to buy pizza for the emergency personnel with her debit card as a thank you.

In her final days, when she was admitted to intensive care, the woman had confessed that she was terrified of dying alone. “On the day that he passed away, almost all of our emergency personnel went and filled that room. It wasn’t the way we wanted it to go, but I’m glad we got there, ”Hatten said.

The official Facebook page of the Coosa Valley hospital was also responsible for saying goodbye to Miss Betty with emotional words. “He always had a smile on his face. She embodied the spirit of caring for patients both in body, mind and spirit. He was always gentle and cared deeply for his patients. We regret her loss and celebrate her life, “they wrote on the social network, along with the photo of the woman who gave her life for her profession and for others.


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