NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A special ceremony at Long Island Jewish Medical Center on Thursday honored health care heroes and those lost to COVID-19.

“It demonstrated extraordinary courage,” Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling said.

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The ceremony was held on the one-year anniversary of the first COVID patient being admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Attendees took a moment to reflect on the lives lost to the virus and those saved.

“Thousands of people who came here in dire circumstance… Families worried, but because of the great work of everybody here… they went home,” Dowling said.

The resilience of front-line workers is perhaps best on display in a mural painted by two artists from New York City.


It’s been hanging in the lobby of LIJ for nearly one year. It was just announced as a permanent part of the hospital.

“Health care workers sitting in front of it, gathering inspiration, made us so grateful that we could contribute in any way,” artist Angeli China told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.

Over the past year, Northwell Health says it has treated more than 163,000 COVID patients. Of those, 30,000 were admitted to hospitals.

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Nurse Mary Ann Brussels, who was one of those patients, spoke at the ceremony.

“It was very tough last year,” she said.


Brussels was 34 months pregnant when she and her husband, a nurse, contracted the virus. She was admitted to LIJ with breathing problems and gave birth via cesarean section.

Two days later, she was put on a ventillator and spent 12 days in the hospital.

“I just prayed that I could make it, my son could could make it, and then I was very thankful because they really took good care of me and my son,” said Brussels, who called it one of the most challenging years of her life.

Other health care workers agree.

“Anybody that’s been through what we’ve been through will recognize that it changes you. Hopefully, we will all be better because of it,” said Dowling.

They have hope for brighter days ahead.

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CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team