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Heroes with Heart: MetroHealth's Dr. Catherine Curley

MetroHealth's Division Director of Hospital Medicine has led by example through the darkest days of the pandemic.

CLEVELAND — It’s been a very long two years for the team at MetroHealth. But these dedicated healthcare heroes continue to stay focused on their mission with help from one of their own: Dr. Catherine Curley, Division Director of Hospital Medicine.

"You have to just keep getting up in the morning and coming in. I think we all still love our patients and want them to get better," Dr. Curley told 3News' Lindsay Buckingham.

Dr. Curley leads a group of more than forty physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants – all on the front lines of the pandemic. A team dedicated to supporting one another through their darkest days. 

Dr. Curley says, the omicron surge over the holidays was particularly challenging. 

"It makes me tearful even now. I mean, it's just been so tiring and, finally we thought we would have a holiday and we just didn't," Dr. Curley said. "We've really worked our tails off...finally, it's looking a little bit better, but it has been a long haul."

Credit: MetroHealth
Dr. Catherine Curley.

It can be easy to overlook, but these dedicated heroes have personal lives too – families at home, a whole life outside the hospital.

Members of Dr. Curley's team, like Dr. Mike Lewis, say there's been added stress as they try to keep themselves and their families safe.

"Most of our division has kids, so it was scary. You'd come to work, treat people with an unknown disease that killed. You'd watch people that you didn't think were gonna get real sick and they'd quickly get sick and pass away," he said. "And then, you know, you know, you try to protect yourself and you know, you have to go home to your family at night. It was, it was rough."

Rough, but this team says, they felt supported. Dr. Curley's leadership helped them all carry on.

"There were a lot of times when our group was stressed and we needed a gap filled often filled it herself," Dr. Lewis remembered. "If a night shift needed to be done, she'd do the night shift. If, if somebody needed to stay late, she stayed late."

And as a mom of two teenage daughters herself – Dr. Curley is leading by example.

Credit: MetroHealth
Dr. Catherine Curley, Division Director, Hospital Medicine, MetroHealth.

"My children sort of expect me now to be at work. They're surprised when I'm home," Dr. Curley said. "Hopefully we'll have more days where they're surprised to see me, in the next few weeks."

It's clear - no matter what, her commitment to her patients and her team is unwavering.

"She's just been an outstanding, phenomenal leader," said Dr. Sandra Glagola. "Catherine has an absolute love for this hospital and a love for the mission of the hospital...I think when you train under someone like that, you recognize those qualities, and you want to emulate, those qualities."

Credit: MetroHealth
MetroHealth's Hospital Medicine team.

As the pandemic evolves and case numbers continue to decline, Dr. Curley says, she has plenty of hope for brighter days ahead.

"We're here and we're gonna be here and we will take care of anyone who needs us and just please get vaccinated and don't get sick if you don't need to. And you just don't need to, this vaccine is great."

Dr. Catherine Curley – thank you, for being a hero with heart.

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3News wanted to find a way to thank these incredible "Heroes with Heart" on the MetroHealth Hospital Medicine staff. And Lindsay Buckingham surprised the team at MetroHealth with some well-deserved gifts live on-air:

-Spirit Airlines generously gifted Dr. Curley two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world where they fly - perfect for a well-earned getaway.

-Panera wanted to make sure the entire team enjoyed a delicious meal, and donated $500 in gift cards to supply the team with plenty of food to keep them fueled on their long shifts.

-Gales Nursing Shoes is gifting each member of the Hospital Medicine team their own pair of shoes. Gales, named after Florence Nightingale, are the first line of Smart PPE Footwear for healthcare workers with innovative antimicrobial, waterproof, slip-resistant shoes. The brand was founded to give back to nurses when healthcare heroes at the NHS saved someone close to founder Rob Gregg's family. When Gales heard about the opportunity to donate to Dr. Curley and her team at MetroHealth, it was a resounding "Yes!" from the team.

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