MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Just as the coronavirus outbreak was affecting thousands in the biggest city in America, a doctor in the heart of America suddenly found himself catching a bad case of altruism.
“I just had this got feeling that I had to be more involved than I was being involved here, just sitting back and not doing anything,” said Dr. Steven Short from Manhattan, Kansas.
Just before the Easter holiday, Dr. Short decided he would take a 5-day trip from the little apple to the big apple – to volunteer at a New York hospital overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
“This was a very scary time,” Dr. short said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to come back.”
His kids didn’t necessarily agree, given the risks with Dr. Short being is in his early 60’s.
“I said to my wife before I leave I have to go by and see them,” Dr. Short explained when he was describing how he went to see his kids at their homes before leaving for New York. “And it was such a sterile time, it was so emotionally sterile that they were standing on one side of the driveway and I was on the other, and my grandsons had a long sign that said, ‘We love you, grandpa, good luck!'”
“Then my oldest grandson whose 12 just ran up to me and hugged me, broke ranks and said I’m, going to do it anyway, so it was really emotional that that happened,” Dr. Short said. “And my son, he as well ended up coming and giving me a big hug.”
After one emotional goodbye, he would soon find himself dealing with dozens more as he arrived at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.
“I was in the middle of just this crazy, crazy disease,” he said. “And everybody was dying.”
Not only was he right in the epicenter of a city hit hardest by the coronavirus, but at the time, he was the only Pulmonologist at Woodhull Hospital.
Given the hospital’s lack of help, Dr. Short agreed to stay an additional week to help.
“It was the most exhausting time I’ve had, and I’ve trained hard,” he said. “And I’ve worked hard all my life, but I’ve never worked that hard.”
For or a man who has spent nearly three decades in the medical field, there he was caring for the sickest patients under the most demanding conditions. It reminds all of us that not all heroes wear capes; some wear masks, and some are named Dr. Short.