HACKENSACK, N.J. — The Rodriguez family at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) radiate just as much love for each other as they do for their vocation.
Kathy, along with her daughters Meghan, 31, and Erin, 27, work diligently at the Prospect Avenue hospital — a place they liken to a second home. Since being born at the hospital, Kathy took her daughters to work with her and the girls even volunteered there in their teens.
The girls now follow in their mother’s footsteps — Meghan is a radiology administrative assistant and Erin as a unit coordinator in the surgical Intensive Care Unit. One could surmise their love of health care is in their DNA. Flashback to 1989, Kathy was pregnant with Meghan while attending the HUMC School of Radiology before graduating to become an interventional radiology technician at the hospital.
Needless to say, hospital workers dedicate a huge chunk of their lives to their work and are often on call. In the 1990s, when her girls were children, Kathy recalled coming home from work to a tear jerking crayon drawing of a telephone that Meghan made and doodled across the top, “Thank God for the Telephone, At Least I Can Speak to My Mom.” While she interpreted the drawing a “heartbreaking reminder” of the time, talent and treasure she implements into her line of work, she had missed the lost time away from her girls.
But since they too have taken after their mother, they are able to make up for the time as this mother-daughter powerhouse work side by side every day. Since the Covid-19 pandemic arose earlier this year, all three women have been playing critical roles at the hospital, which recently discharged their 1,000th Covid-19 patient — Dr. Karan Omidvari on April 28 to a clap out by fellow staff — and developed innovative treatment like the study and usage of antibodies of previously infected patients to help treat sick patients, in addition to a new test for the virus that delivers same-day results. The test is currently being used among the entire Hackensack Meridian Health network, which consists of 17 hospitals around the state.
At the flagship hospital in Hackensack, while Erin manages the Covid-19 floors, Kathy has been busy taking chest X-Rays while Meghan manages the thousands of food donations brought to the hospital from the myriad of generous businesses in the area. Despite their own concerns over the killer virus that has to date touched more than 4 million people and claimed over a quarter of a million lives worldwide, they remain committed to winning the battle. Together.