LIVE: Protesters march through the streets of downtown Milwaukee
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

‘I love to help:’ Oak Creek hospice nurse provides care via telemedicine, battling breast cancer amid COVID-19

Data pix.

BROOKFIELD -- The coronavirus pandemic has made things incredibly difficult for those with loves ones who are nearing the end of their lives. A woman from Oak Creek, working as a nurse in Brookfield, is using telemedicine to help hospice patients navigate changes amid COVID-19 -- while facing her own health battle.

Mary Lesjak of Oak Creek started as a nurse 58 years ago, and she's been a hospice nurse with St. Croix Hospice for seven years. She's seen many changes over the years, but this might be the biggest.

"I just love to be with people, and I love to help people," said Lesjak.

That passion has motivated Lesjak since 1962.

"I've always loved nursing," said Lesjak. "It was my first love. I guess it will be my last. That's why I do it."

Mary Lesjak

Mary Lesjak

End of life care is normally very hands-on.

"We have to kind of work together," said Lesjak. "It's a very different way of doing nursing.

Because of COVID-19, nurses like Lesjak are working from home.

"Before, we would go in and assess our patients wherever they were, but it would be a face-to-face, and a touching, and a hugging," said Lesjak.

Amid the pandemic, they're relying on telemedicine. Lesjak speaks with nurses on-site to get vitals, assess patients and provide critical information to families who can't be near their loved ones.

"There's people out there besides them that care, and are checking on their loved ones to make sure their needs are met, and that their medical needs are being taken care of," said Lesjak.

Lesjak said while the job has changed, the care has not, with hospice nurses continuing to bring comfort to patients.

"We give hope," said Lesjak. "Each day, you live to the fullest."

Nursing home

Lesjak is providing this vital care all while battling breast cancer. She says helping others is helping her stay healthy and optimistic.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.