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Jersey Strong: Nurse swam to ER during Hurricane Sandy

health120711_opt_200_230BY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Chances are the worst boss in the world would have understood if you had called out of work because of a hurricane.

But Toms River resident Marsha Hedgepeth, an emergency room technician at the Community Medical Center, was just sitting at home in the dark during Sandy, and saw things differently.

“We are the first responders. The tougher the circumstances is when you do come to work,” Hedgepeth said, according to The Asbury Park Press. So she packed her work scrubs into a shopping bag and swam until she could finally stand and reached Route 37 in about a half-hour.

Hedgepeth instinctively began hitchhiking, and a power company truck with Michigan license plates pulled over and took her to work. "They asked me where I was going, and I said, "the emergency room,'" Hedegpath said, according to USA Today.

The utility workers asked her if she was going there for care, and Hedgepeth replied, “No, for work.”

Hedgepeth said she just had to be there. “I knew once I was at work I could clean up. If my area was that bad, I knew over the bridge - in Seaside Heights- it was 10 times worse,” she said, according to the New York Daily News.

“You’re never going to have enough staff in a state of emergency.”

The Community Medical Center’s website says the Emergency Department treats more than 100,330 patients each year, the busiest ER in New Jersey. Their average rose from seeing 260 patients a day to 300 after the storm arrived.

After changing clothes and warming up with some coffee, Hedgepeth stayed about four hours over on her shift at work that night.

 

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