Courage, compassion, resilience—that’s what six Boston Scientific employees brought to the pandemic’s front lines when they took advantage of the company’s volunteer policy to support hospitals stretched thin by the rapid spread of COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, medically trained employees have been able to take time off from work to join healthcare teams around the globe. Here are their stories:
Joshua Pajuelo Marruecos – Barcelona, Spain
Joshua, a clinical sales representative in Endoscopy, volunteered as an intensive care nurse at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. Many of the patients Joshua treated were sedated and needed mechanical ventilation to oxygenate their lungs. “When patients are being weaned off the ventilator and begin to wake up, it’s an emotional experience. You can tell how hard they are fighting to live and recover.”
For Joshua, one of the saddest things was knowing that some patients would not be able to say goodbye to their families. “We are used to loss in healthcare, but this situation was completely different. Patients were isolated. We adapted by arranging videocalls so they could have virtual interaction with their relatives.”
Reflecting on his time on the front lines, Joshua said, “We have learned that tough times don’t last, but tough teams do. Volunteering during this pandemic has helped me establish priorities and be more conscious about how lucky I am to live without any real problems.”
Joshua has worked in a variety of clinical roles and settings, including as a first medical responder on cruises and a mental health nurse in prison.
Lauren McCarthy – Cardiff, Wales
Lauren worked as an accident and emergency (A&E) staff nurse before joining Boston Scientific as an endoscopy account manager. When she heard retired nurses were volunteering, she wanted to go back and do her part. She was assigned to look after patients who arrived by ambulance at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
“Working in A&E is tough, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. Wearing full PPE for 12 ½ hours a day is hard work, but I was amazed to see how quickly the team adapted to the massive changes in how things are done—and by how much things changed daily.”
Lauren was proud to be a part of an outstanding team, but the experience was an emotional roller-coaster. “After a tough shift I ordinarily would have gone out for dinner with friends or gone to see my mum and dad,” she said referring to her previous nursing life, “but I couldn’t do that due to the lockdown. I realize I’ve been taking the important things in life for granted.”
In full face shield, Lauren shares a selfie from her time volunteering at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Sabrina Benmesbah – Paris, France
Before joining Boston Scientific as a complex percutaneous coronary intervention therapy representative, Sabrina Benmesbah worked as a cardiology nurse at the Hôpital Lariboisière in Paris.
“When COVID cases were rising in France, it wasn’t long before I saw we were in an exceptional crisis,” she said. “Many nurses and physicians were infected quickly, and the hospital faced a lack of medical staff. That’s when they called to ask if I would be willing to come back to work.”
Sabrina was assigned to the CathLab for emergency procedures and ICU in between with two other paramedics, but when they fell ill with the virus, she found herself alone. “On week two, we faced an outbreak of emergencies and cardiac arrests. There were few nurses. I worked with physicians who helped me care for patients. There was a lot of humanity and solidarity. We faced the difficulties as one.”
Sabrina was grateful for the support of her Boston Scientific colleagues. “My manager kept me informed. He told me to focus on the crisis, but above all to take care of me. The support from the team was amazing. It made me stronger—and prouder to be a part of Boston Scientific.”
Before volunteering during the pandemic, Sabrina helped launch the ROTAPRO™ Rotational Atherectomy System in France.
Sebastian Schneider- Ratingen, Germany
Sebastian, a WATCHMAN™ field clinical specialist, has helped rescue people in floods and fires. With more than 16 years of experience volunteering for the German Red Cross, Sebastian saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a new opportunity to protect civilians. “When a crisis hits, whether it’s a flood, fire or global pandemic, it’s my duty to help the people who need it.”
For 50 days, Sebastian worked with the German Red Cross to set up a test center in Duisburg, Germany. He helped organize staff and materials, but was often challenged by not having enough personal protective equipment to meet demand. “People were extremely grateful to everyone who worked at the test center. I was surprised by how my city came together to show its support.”
Before the pandemic, Sebastian helped his community respond to other emergencies by volunteering with the German Red Cross.
Lindsay Henry - New York City, USA
When she heard the call for much-needed clinicians, Lindsay, a clinical specialist in the Neuromodulation division, responded. “I want to be there to help people,” she said.
Lindsay worked as an emergency nurse at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the hardest-hit boroughs in New York City, which kept her away from home in North Virginia. Between her two roles—at the hospital and Boston Scientific—she sometimes chose to work seven days a week. When asked if she was tired, Lindsay replied, “This is what I signed-up for. If I can be helpful, it brings joy to my soul. It feels awesome to work for a company that is so phenomenal. When anyone asks where I work, I say, ‘I work at a company called Boston Scientific and they’re amazing!’”
At Boston Scientific, Lindsay works on a team of three to assist with spinal cord stimulation trials and implants. She also helps with programming.
Mercedes Vega – Madrid, Spain
Mercedes, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist, joined Boston Scientific four years ago as an electrophysiologist training specialist. She credits her team for supporting her decision to volunteer. “Boston Scientific’s volunteering policy made things easier for me to go to the hospital knowing that I could come back to my job.”
Mercedes worked in the COVID-19 unit at Madrid’s Hospital de Vallecas where she was a part of a multidisciplinary team led by specialists in internal medicine. “There were cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, auxiliary workers all coming together to work against this threat.”
The team’s solidarity made some challenges easier to face. “It was hard to see this unprecedented disease, but it was satisfying to be part of the fight. I´m grateful to be able to help patients overcome this terrible illness and to be beside them in moments of pain and isolation.”
Mercedes shares a selfie while volunteering at the Hospital de Vallecas in Madrid.
To learn more about how Boston Scientific is supporting frontline healthcare professionals, read more about our COVID-19 relief efforts.