INDIANAPOLIS — A colorful sign of hope and progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, pinwheels were placed in the ground Wednesday outside of Franciscan Health. Each one represents a patient who had COVID-19 who has now been discharged from the hospital.
"This is a pandemic. We are emergency nurses and this is what we went to school for, this is what we were built for, this is what we love to do," Emily Cornpropst, an emergency department nurse at Franciscan Health, said. "We've been focusing on those COVID patients. Anxiety is a big one. With not being able to breathe people get anxious which makes their breathing worse. That's very scary."
In March, Cornpropst was diagnosed with the coronavirus, forcing her to stay home to recover for three weeks.
"My most severe symptoms was the pain in my legs and lower back," she said.
But now, Cornpropst is back at work where she joined her co-workers for a ceremony on Thursday to honor the patients they have helped recover from the virus.
"We are never going to forget those that we lost but the other side of it there have been people who have recovered who have survived and can live to tell their story," Cornpropst said.
"Each of those patients represent a pinwheel, each of those patients represent such heroic care given by our caregivers and physicians," Jim Callaghan, president and CEO of Franciscan Health, said.
Callaghan said stories of recovery and the work being done inside the walls of the hospital every day are important to share.
"We've been in this pandemic for over three months so this was a nice moment to pause and recognize that heroic care and life-saving work," Callaghan said.
"I feel very hopeful," Cornpropst said. "I am very blessed to have survived this virus and be able to give back to continue to get back and work in the emergency department, take care of those patients that aren't as fortunate."
While working back in the ER, Cornpropst is also now helping some of the most critically ill patients by donating her plasma.