BOSTON (CBS) – When New York City became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, Taylor Campbell, an emergency department nurse in Rhode Island, knew that’s where she needed to go.
“My dad actually responded to 9/11 to work as a police officer and I’ve always admired that about him,” said Campbell.
So, she followed in his footsteps and headed to the front lines.
“I was just completely thrown in,” she said.
For three weeks, Campbell worked in a 14-bed intensive care unit at Metropolitan Hospital treating patients with COVID-19. The days were long and they were tough.
“It was more emotionally draining more than physically draining,” she said.
But, on day 21 something amazing happened. Her very first patient, who she had taken care of for weeks, was now strong enough to be taken off a ventilator.
“We extubated her and I held her hand the whole time. She looked right at me and said ‘I love you’ and was able to mouth the words. The tears were just flowing down my face on to my N95 mask and I had that lump in my throat and that doesn’t happen to me very often,” said Campbell.
Campbell recounted the emotional moment in a Facebook post that was meant for her friends and family. But soon, it had hundreds of thousands of likes and comments.
“I’ve been getting messages – thousands of messages from people all over the world,” she said. “How my story brought them peace in a way.”
A couple hours later, Campbell learned the hospital no longer needed her services.
“It all just hit me right then and there that that was why I went. She was my first patient and she was the last patient I was going to have,” said Campbell.
Campbell feels her purpose of going to New York was to save her.
“It was just the best way to end it and I just truly think that’s why I went,” she said.
Campbell is now back home in Dighton, Massachusetts. She just finished a 14-day quarantine. She says she thinks about her patient every day and hears she is doing well.