Throughout the Fall, The University of Scranton sports information office will be profiling former Royal student-athletes who are on the front lines in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. Our second profile features Meaghan Curtin-Ledetsch ‘08, a former volleyball student-athlete (2004-07).
Ledetsch with her two children (Frederick & Eloise) and husband, Fred
The 2007 season for the then Meaghan Curtin was one for the record books on the defensive end for The University of Scranton volleyball team.
Meaghan Curtin in action during a match in 2007
At the conclusion of the year, Curtin shattered the program record for digs, finishing the campaign with 811 to help Scranton win 25 games and advance to the very first Landmark Conference championship match. She also went on to earn All-Landmark Conference second team honors, as well.
The then Meagan Curtin broke the program records for digs in a season in 2007 as the Royals advanced to the Landmark Conference title match
Now, in her professional life as the Assistant Nurse Manager at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the now Meghan Ledetsch is playing defense against a much stronger opponent - COVID-19. Before taking her current position in July, Ledetsch served as a nurse in the Cardiac ICU at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. for 5 years, as challenging of a position as there is in the entire hospital.
Ledetsch and her colleagues from North Shore University Hospital take in a New York Mets game at Citi Field
“As one of the biggest Heart Center's on Long Island, I took care of the sickest of the sick cardiac patients,” Ledetsch said. “This includes but is not limited to carcinogenic shock, septic shock, end stage heart failure, heart attacks, LVADS, heart transplants, arrhythmia's, pulmonary diseases, end stage renal disease, etc. Sometimes these patients were so sick they needed to have 2 nurses instead of the 1 nurse to 2 patient ratio we typically have.”
But, even working in a high pressure unit such as the Cardiac ICU could not prepare Ledetsch for what was to come this past spring. Once the pandemic reared its vicious head into the New York metro area in March, Ledetsch’s Cardiac ICU unit became a full blown COVID ICU.
Ledetsch on the job in the converted COVID ICU Unit at North Shore University Hospital
“Over the past few months, words cannot describe what my hospital has seen or gone through,” she said. “Myself and my colleagues were exposed to a whole different type of nursing.”
Ledetsch and her colleagues get ready to present a birthday cake to a patient in the COVID ICU unit. They all also sang "happy birthday" to the patient, who was being both incubated and sedated at the time.
Ledetsch describes just how complex battling the virus a healthcare professional really is. At first, her and the rest of her team were unsure of what to do and to make matters worse, there were not enough ICU nurses to go around to the growing number of COVID patients checking into the hospital. Despite all of this, Ledetsch and the rest of the team at the hospital remained positive and used every possible means they could to help out patients, while at the same time coming to grips with the harsh reality of the situation at hand.
Ledetsch and a colleague take a selfie while on the job
“I saw my team band together to rally, help and fight this horrific disease,” she said. “We played music, we sang songs, we hugged strangers working alongside us, and more often than not we cried. We cried for the sick patients, we cried for their loved ones at home, we cried when coworkers who got infected didn't make it, and we cried because there was no end in sight.
"When one person passed away, we were already getting calls to fill the bed with another equally sick patient.”
Thankfully for Ledetsch and her team, things calmed down, but the emotional impact of the last few months has stayed with her and will for years to come as the virus continues to forge ahead into the Fall and Winter months. In her new position at North Shore University Hospital, Ledetsch and her team are already preparing for an up-tick in COVID cases.
The COVID ICU Unit Team poses for a picture
The hospital has already converted a surgical unit into a 31-bed COVID unit and when we spoke to her early last week, Ledetsch stated that one of the ICU’s in the hospital was filled with COVID-positive patients. Ever the defender, however, Ledetsch is determined to continue the fight against COVID in the country's biggest metropolitan area.
Ledetsch looks forward to getting back on the sand volleyball courts on LBI once the pandemic ends
“While the world remains upside down, myself and my colleagues are preparing to fight this epic disease once again,” she said. “With all the progress we have seen in the past couple months, I know we can beat this.”
If you are a former University of Scranton student-athlete who has been on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 and would like for us to tell your story, please fill out our questionnaire here.