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The heart of a true hero

| May 14, 2020 1:00 AM

Last week the Inter Lake featured a poignant story about ICU nurse Megan Moore and her work to care for COVID-19 patients in New York City.

The 2000 Flathead High School graduate lives in Florida with her husband and two children, but felt called to do her part in the nation’s battle against the virus. Moore said she prayed with her family before making the decision to take a two-month stint at Nyack’s Montefiore Hospital in New York City — the epicenter of the America’s coronavirus outbreak.

Within the first 20 minutes on the job, she had already seen her first COVID-19 death.

“The first two weeks were just wild,” Moore told Inter Lake reporter Jeremy Weber in a phone interview last week. “It’s everything you have been seeing on the news. The patients are really, really sick and the doctors and nurses are overrun.”

Readers have expressed appreciation for Moore’s willingness to share a first-hand account of her experience. In a state with one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases in the nation, it’s difficult for Montanans to fully grasp what is happening in the heart of the outbreak in New York City — where the death toll now tops 15,000.

“This crisis is real,” Moore told us, while describing the tragedy that takes place daily inside the hospital where she works.

“It’s like a nightmare come to life.”

While she won’t admit it, Moore’s work as a registered nurse is nothing short of courageous — 70-hour work weeks in full protective gear, living out of a suitcase, away from her family. She’s admittedly scared and tired, “but I am doing what I can to help in the only way I know how and that’s what I am going to keep on doing.”

That’s the heart of a hero — of a nurse.

National Nurses Week wrapped on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. But that doesn’t mean we can’t show appreciation for all of our frontline health-care workers every day of the year. They deserve it, now more than ever.

The Montana Children’s facility was recently selected by Montana’s COVID-19 Task Force as a location for an alternate care facility, should the coronavirus pandemic reemerge in our area.

Ultimately, the 100-bed makeshift hospital will help prepare Kalispell Regional Healthcare for a potential second wave of infections later in the year. Health officials suggest a second wave could stress Montana’s hospitals even more if it coincides with flu season.

The facility would be used for non-COVID-19 patients to create more capacity for treating patients infected with the virus in the hospital’s acute-care settings.

It’s important to note that the facility is funded by FEMA without any cost to the hospital.

We’re glad to see this initiative taking place. We hope that second wave never materializes, but it’s better to be prepared for the worst than simply wish for the best.