NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of out-of-town doctors and nurses are answering the call to come to New York.

CBS2’s Tony Aiello spoke with a Georgia physician who just arrived, eager to be of service.

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It’s 800 miles from Gainesville, Georgia to East Harlem and Metropolitan Hospital – a front line in the fight against COVID-19.

Dr. Josh Mugele made the journey armed with medical knowledge, and a desire to help.


“Very eager to serve. I want to be useful. Lots of us are feeling that now, especially those of us not at the epicenter of this right now,” Dr. Mugele said.

He’s an ER doctor at Northeast Georgia, volunteering to serve in New York City through the Society of Critical Care Medicine. He’s seen the video and heard the stories of what frontline health care workers here are enduring.

“Exhaustion, colleagues getting sick, seeing a lot of devastation. I think that was the impetus for a lot of people to go there, want to help out our colleagues in New York,” Dr. Mugele said.

He’s battled frightening health threats before. Mugele was volunteering in Liberia in 2014 when the Ebola epidemic started to sweep West Africa, eventually killing thousands of people.

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“I wasn’t there very long. Some of my Liberian colleagues did contract Ebola and die there,” he said.

What he experienced then helps prepare him for what he’ll face now.

Mugele comes to New York to help, but also to learn, and take that knowledge back to Georgia.

“Whether it’s how to reuse PPE, or how to deal with shortages, or just how to manage vents or other technical issues that might come up that I’m not even aware of,” he said.

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Mugele expects to spend several weeks in New York, away from his wife and their new puppy Hilde.

“Hopefully it will be potty trained by the time I get back,” he said.

He fully expects to get back safely to Georgia.

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He did review his will before coming to New York.