After more than 50 years as nurse from the emergency room, Betty Grier Gallagher he had more than earned the right to retire. But according to those who knew and loved her, she couldn’t. She was very concerned about what was going on during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gallaher worked the night shift at Alabama’s Coosa Valley Medical Center, her preference, according to her son, to be able to mentor the younger nurses. Known in the hospital as “Miss Betty,” she loved being his sounding board, his personal therapist, and his “work mom.”
He made sure everyone he worked with was fed every night. He cared for his patients the same way he cared for his family and his co-workers, who became his own family. She was, according to her loved ones, everyone’s favorite nurse.
Betty Grier Gallagher worked for more than four decades as an emergency nurse.
So when the Covid-19 pandemic started in March, Gallaher’s co-workers asked him, for his safety, to stay home.
But sitting was not like her. She knew her colleagues and the community needed her, so she kept working until he became infected with coronavirus in December.
Gallaher died of Covid-19 on January 10, the day before his 79th birthday, in the same hospital where he worked for much of his career. “He didn’t do it to stand out,” said his son Carson Grier Jr. “He did it because that’s the way it was … it’s his calling.”
Pfizer’s vaccine, one of the solutions against the pandemic. Photo: AP
A life of work
Gallaher was a nurse for most of her life. She believed it was her life-long duty to care for her patients and mentor her younger colleagues, her son Grier told CNN.
He spent 43 years at Coosa Valley Medical Center in Sylacauga, an hour southeast of Birmingham. There he met Chuck Terrell, then a radiology technician. “We have all worked with Betty,” Terrell said. “I could never make her understand how much everyone loved her.”
One of the parts of the job she liked the most was working with young nurses who were sometimes 50 years younger than her, as Coosa Valley ER Nurse and Supervisor Nikki Jo Hatten.
Betty was an example of hard work and perseverance.
“Betty is the type who cares about you as a nurse as much as she cares about a patient,” Hatten told CNN.
Gallaher knew everyone’s name in the ER, as well as the names of their partners, children and pets, Hatten said. He would show up with a bag of burgers to feed anyone who forgot to bring a meal for their 12 hour shift. He would take you by the hand and wrap you in a warm blanket if you needed it. He showed the same love to his colleagues as he did to his family and children. She was the cure for an anxiety attack, “Hatten said.
Pandemia in EE.UU.
The United States surpassed this Tuesday, January 19, 400,000 deaths for coronavirus, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University.
The figure is the highest globally and almost double that of Brazil, second on the list with just over 210,000 deaths.
The North American country also has the highest number of positive cases registered. As of Tuesday afternoon, it reported about 24.1 million