Super SHEro - Erika (Samsky) Sant’Ambrogio '07

Super SHEro - Erika (Samsky) Sant’Ambrogio '07

Erika (Samsky) Sant’Ambrogio, MSDA Class of 2007, is an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. During a typical workday in the pre-COVID era, Erika would see many different problems, from a child with a facial laceration to a patient having chest pain or a stroke. Now, in the days of COVID19, the days are very daunting. Erika notes, “Many of our patients are severely ill and on ventilators. I can expect one to two patients to pass during my shift.”

In sharing a bit about what she is experiencing, seeing and feeling in her role as a healthcare provider right now: “It is emotionally exhausting, but this is what I signed up to do, help people. Some patients are ok and just go home like they have the flu. Others are talking to me one minute and unfortunately pass without warning the next. Some come in with severe respiratory distress or chest pain and we rush to figure out the cause. COVID19 is not only novel, but it seems to be reckless, causing anything from strokes to kidney failure, and of course respiratory distress.”

And each day, while working so hard to care for her patients, Erika is caring for someone else as well, as she is expecting a baby! “What timing,” she remarked, noting that she is trying to be very safe and that her colleagues are helping her, but it is tough being on the front lines with every patient being positive for the virus. Crossing her fingers and hoping to stay healthy, Erika expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to share what she and her fellow healthcare providers are seeing. “I think it’s very important for the world to know. I don’t think I would think, or know, how severe this pandemic was without seeing it first hand in the emergency department, so thanks for letting me share.”

Important to note, as well – of the title “hero,” Erika said, “not a hero, just a helper in a crisis!” It is this level of commitment, caring, professionalism and selflessness that we are overwhelmed by and eternally grateful for – to such a high degree among our Mount alumnae community, and within the field of healthcare globally. Thank you, Erika, for being a helper!

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