NEW ORLEANS – International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 and WDSU 6 News featured women in Louisiana who have been at the forefront of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among them, “Dr. Sandra Kemmerly, an infectious disease specialist with Ochsner, has helped lead the health system's response to COVID-19,” WDSU reported.
"Our entire lives were disrupted in the course of a week," Dr. Kemmerly told WDSU. "I mean we went from not having any patients to like 90% of our hospitals were filled with COVID-19 patients in a short period of time."
Kemmerly said that “her experience as a mother and wife helped her navigate those trying times,” WDSU reported.
"Sort of being comfortable being uncomfortable," Kemmerly told WDSU. "Being hysterical … we’re in a pandemic, that’s not necessarily helpful when you have to solve your everyday issues."
“She described the happiest moment of her life coming on Dec. 16, 2020,” WDSU reported.
"That was the Monday we were going to start offering vaccinations, and so that night before, I didn’t sleep at all," Kemmerly to WDSU.
“The vaccination process also brought joy to registered nurse Maria Papadopoulos, who works for Louisiana Children's Medical Center Health (LCMC),” WDSU reported, adding that she “started the pandemic working in a coronavirus intensive care unit, before eventually answering questions on the LCMC nurse hotline.”
Papadopoulos “also began administering vaccines in 2021,” WDSU reported.
"Just less than a year before, I was telling people, 'Calm down. It’ll be OK. Let’s go get tested,'" Papadopoulos told WDSU. "Now I’m saying, 'Let’s go get your vaccine.'"
Both women told WDSU that “they have had good and bad days, but they agree they can handle whatever the pandemic throws their way.”
"We did it and so we continue to do it each and every day," said Kemmerly, WDSU reported.
“When asked if they consider themselves heroes, Papadopoulos said no,” WDSU reported.
"I signed up for this, and I don’t consider myself a hero," Papadopoulos told WDSU. "I’m just doing my job."