Former Bronx doctor Jane Bedell planned to meet her son in Wyoming for a relaxing hiking trip after she retired last month.
Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, and Bedell scrapped her long-awaited vacation for one last tour of duty.
The 63-year-old former primary-care physician is one of scores of heroic medical professionals who are coming out of retirement to volunteer to help overrun hospitals in New York City — despite being in a vulnerable age demographic themselves — after Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on them to join the cause.
“If I was a newly minted doctor, this would actually be more scary,” Bedell said. “I have my own fears, too, but I’ve lived through more — I have a longer-term view.”
Along with being over age 60, Bedell is also a cancer survivor — making her doubly at risk for the virus, which has infected nearly 22,000 people in New York City.
But Bedell, who will head back to work as a doctor this week, said she got a bravery boost from years of treating sick people decades ago during the AIDS crisis
“Back then, people were afraid of anyone who had this mysterious illness — and many of the things about that time remind me of this [pandemic] today,” said Bedell, who worked at the North Central Bronx Hospital and Montefiore clinics in the ’80s and ’90s.
“In those early days, it was almost a plague feeling — frantic, like today,” she said. “I learned a lot about the importance of having courage and how critical it is to have good scientific information.”
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