Hospital worker swam to work after Sandy

Mike Krumboltz
The Lookout

After the destruction of superstorm Sandy, many on the East Coast had no choice but to skip work. But emergency room technician Marsha Hedgepeth of Toms River, N.J., wasn't about to miss her shift. The roads were flooded, so Hedgepeth swam part of the way to work.

In an interview with Asbury Park Press, Hedgepeth said, "I dove into water, and I couldn't see the steps I was walking down because they were covered in water. So I said the easiest way to get there is just swim until I reach the ground."

[Photos: Sandy: Road to Recovery]

Fortunately, Hedgepeth didn't have to swim the entire way. The experienced surfer swam about 200 yards through murk and debris. After reaching a nearby highway, she hitched a ride with utility workers. She arrived about six hours before her shift was set to begin.

Hedgepeth tried to call the hospital to see if she was needed, but she (along with millions of others) had no telephone service. The 43-year-old said, "You know you just have to be there. You're never going to have enough staff in a state of emergency."

[Related: Hurricane Sandy exposes Fire Island shipwreck]

The dedicated technician put her scrubs in a plastic bag and swam for what she estimated was about a half-hour. When she found the utility truck, she stuck out her thumb for a ride.

"They asked me where I was going, and I said, 'the emergency room,'" Hedgepeth told Asbury Park Press. The workers then asked if she was headed there for an injury. "No, she said. For work."