The three children of Dr. Lyree Mikhail and her husband, Dr. Peter Marcus, were concerned for their parents’ health when the coronavirus pandemic shook up the United States in mid-March.
Mikhail is an obstetrician-gynecologist at IU Health West Hospital, and Marcus is an OB-GYN at Ascension St. Vincent. Their children were dismissed from their Purdue University dorms and came home to conclude the semester virtually.
“There was a lot of fear at the beginning for me and my husband with us both on the front lines,” said Mikhail, whose family lives in Carmel. “They were scared, and they also were upset with disruption in their lives. I had a heart-to-heart conversation with them about the fact we are fortunate people. We have work, a home, we have food and we are safe. They are relatively healthy. The best thing to do would be to make a commitment to the rest of society, and perhaps working in health care might be the best way to do that during the time of COVID.”
The three decided to work as patient care assistants. Maggie Marcus, 23, works in the postpartum unit at IU Health North Hospital. Nate Marcus, 21, and Bridget Marcus, 19, are in the labor and delivery unit at IU Health West.
Maggie graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology this spring.
“I’m deciding whether I want to continue with a master’s in social work or continuing on to get a bachelor’s in nursing degree,” Maggie said. “I’m planning on staying full time or just part time if I go back to school. When my siblings do go back to school, they are planning to work at least on weekends. We all plan doing it in the fall, if not even longer.”
Maggie said she is taking patients’ vitals and drawing blood as well as performing secretarial duties such as answering phones and documenting newborn birth notifications.
“I’ve always been interested in helping people and working with families or children,” she said. “Working at IU North has definitely steered me toward nursing.”
Mikhail is proud of her children for their sacrifices.
“They work nights and weekends and will continue to do so indefinitely while they are college students and young adults,” Mikhail said. “That is a lot. Many of their friends have been supportive, somewhat shocked they would give up their nights and weekends. You are supposed to work during the day and come home and enjoy yourselves. They are making this commitment because that’s where it is a need. Am I proud? Exceptionally so.
“Health care work is challenging, and COVID makes it twice as challenging.”
Nate, a public health major, is considering nursing or medical school. Bridget, a nutrition science major, is deciding between becoming a nurse, physicians’ assistant or physician. Maggie graduated from a high school in Connecticut before the family moved to Carmel. Nate and Bridge graduated from Guerin Catholic High School.
Maggie said the work has been a rewarding experience.
“I really enjoy working with my patients and co-workers and learning their life stories,” Maggie said.