Caroline Reid is a third year student nurse from Roscrea currently working in UHL
Caroline Reid – a student nurse who is fighting Covid-19 on the hospital frontlines, was the victim of a frightening and unprovoked attack in Roscrea last week.
Four local teenagers, who viciously berated the young nurse with taunts and jeers before spitting in her face, have left Caroline traumatised, but she bravely continues to work and play a part in the international fight against coronavirus.
Speaking to the Tipperary Star this week, Caroline says she feels safer at work caring for Covid-19 positive patients than on the streets of Roscrea after the attack and has urged parents to keep their teenagers inside or at least carefully monitor their activity until the health crisis subsides.
The incident, which happened last Thursday in Tullaskeagh, has been condemned by local people, who rallied to support Caroline and her family this week on social media and taking the opportunity to celebrate and thank her for her contribution in the battle against coronavirus.
Caroline, who has been working with Covid-19 positive patients in the University Hospital in Limerick since February, has cared for people who have died from the virus and also witnessed the joyful moment when people have been discharged from hospital after recovering – and everything in between.
However, the attack she was subjected to has left her weary of going out for any activity outside of work and has had an impact on her family, she told this newspaper.
“The Gardaí have been in touch with me and I do plan to go forward with my complaints as I want them to realise how serious this is,” Caroline said recalling when the teenagers coughed and spat at her.
The parents of one of the teenagers responsible, who is known to Caroline, did contact her to apologise and she says her life is “in turmoil” since the incident.
Caroline said she finds getting up to face the challenge of working on the frontlines difficult, but that through teamwork and the dedication of her colleagues she feels motivated by making a difference.
“Everyone is working together now and when we are caring for Covid positive patients we carefully check each other's PPE and work closely together. Preparing the PPE is very specific and all our equipment is sterile and carefully disinfected.
“The hardest part is that people are alone when they pass. We are in our masks and we try to be close to them at this very vulnerable and important moment – everyone is cared for like they are our own family.
“I was honoured last Friday to see a woman beat all the odds and walk out of hospital and we are seeing lots of people overcome it and go home. But I don't think the main surge will come until October with the flu season and people need to stay home and carefully observe the advice now or it will be a disaster,” Caroline said.
Thanking the people of Roscrea for their support in one of her darkest hours, Caroline pleaded with parents to keep their children indoors and continue to work together through social distancing to make the challenges facing her and her colleagues not so difficult.