Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel has honored Rob Guerra, a Lakewood Ranch Medical Center nurse, on his show as a healthcare hero — and presented him with a new Ford pickup truck.
Kimmel also made donation of personal protective equipment to the the staff at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The segment was aired on May 30.
Guerra, a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve, works as a charge nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
He was called up on a Tuesday and deployed to New York City two days later to help care for those with COVID-19.
Guerra, 40, was among the Navy, Army, Marine, National Guard and civilian healthcare workers assigned to the Javits Convention Center, which became an indoor field hospital that was built to care for more than 2,000 civilians with COVID-19.
“Initially, we spent 10-14 hours in personal protective equipment and were taking care of anywhere from 8-12 patients per nurse until more reinforcements arrived. Our days were long and exhausting, many of us working 6-12 days in a row with only one day off in between,” Guerra said.
“Thankfully though, we would see a rapid decline in cases and found that we would never care for as many patients as initially was expected.
“My experience throughout this unprecedented time has had a huge impact on me. I realize that as a nurse, you may be put in some of the most difficult and trying positions that one may ever encounter and you will have to find the strength from within to go on and perform your duties to help others,” he said. “The support system that you have is what gets you through these tough times.”
While he was deployed, co-workers at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center chipped in to send him a care package with food, drinks and toiletries.
“My wife, who was left with a newborn and a house to tend to while I was gone, along with online schooling for our oldest daughter, rocked it and showed strength and resilience,” he said.
“The residents of New York City, every day at 7 p.m., would open their windows and cheer, blow horns, and bang pots and pans, a simple gesture with an enormous impact that gave us the will to keep fighting another day. This, all coming around a week that is celebrated for nurses, is what makes being a nurse such a rewarding profession that I am thankful to be a part of,” said, who lives in Palmetto.
He was in his hotel room at the end of his deployment with his wife, Kayla, when when Kimmel made the surprise call on Zoom.
His wife called it a welcome surprise and an emotional moment for the family.
“We are proud of Rob for assisting in New York City during the pandemic and we look forward to having him back,” said Andy Guz, CEO of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
© 2020 The Bradenton Herald
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