SoCal chaplain says meaning behind work incredible amid pandemic

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Reverend Cassie McCarty, chaplain at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, says the last 10 months haven't been easy.

"The work right now is exhausting," said Rev. McCarty.

While the job is tough, she loves it.

"We essentially become our patient's family members," she said.

Working with two other chaplains at the hospital, they offer the spiritual support patients and their families need, even virtually as loved ones are unable to be bedside.

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With Los Angeles County pushing closer to the milestone of 1 million coronavirus cases, health officials have announced plans to dramatically ramp up vaccinations by expanding the eligibility list.

"That's something we never would have dreamed of before the pandemic," said Rev. McCarty.

She says the role nurses have taken on has changed as well. She remembers one conversation she overheard between a nurse and children of a deathly-ill patient.

"Your father will not be alone, I will be with him. We are here to be by his side. I will sing songs to him, I will be here for him."

While she's had numerous patients pass away, McCarty says the meaning behind her work is incredible. She calls it a privilege.

"What I find amazing is that families will turn to me and the staff even in the midst of losing their loved one, they expressed this depth of gratitude. That moves me and brings me to tears even in this moment, and they will say we know how busy you are, we know everything you all are going through. Thank you so much for taking care of our loved one."
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