Staff at an Idaho hospital donated their paid-time-off hours so their coworker could get life-saving surgery. The last couple of years have been tough for most everybody, but it’s been especially hard for healthcare workers. And one worker who’s had a lot to deal with in that time isElizabeth Obregon, a medical assistant at St. Luke’s Hospital in Meridian, Idaho.
In 2019 Obregon had surgery to treat cervical cancer, but decided against a hysterectomy hoping she could still have a family one day. Her dreams seemed to be coming true when she found out she was pregnant in April of 2020, but then she contracted COVID at work in June and was quarantined all of July. Doctors monitored her closely, considering her pregnancy high-risk. "It was really scary and nerve-wracking because I couldn't feel the baby move when I had COVID-19,” she remembers. “But then I kept getting bigger and he just kept surpassing all the milestones." Fortunately, she delivered her sonElijahin December. He came a month early, but he was healthy.
Obregon was excited about being a new mom, but her oncologist was urging her to have the hysterectomy she put off in 2019 before her cancer could spread. She was torn. She knew she needed the surgery, but as a single mother she couldn’t afford to take off work. But when some of her coworkers heard about her dilemma, they pooled their resources to help her out. With permission from the hospital, her coworkers donated 240 paid-time-off hours to her so she could get the surgery she needed. Obregon is back at work now and feeling stronger, and she’s eternally grateful to those who made it possible. "I just thank you so much,” she says to her anonymous donors. “I love you guys so much."