Fear of COVID-19 prompts early retirement for one of Memorial West’s first nurses

‘I would go back in a minute if COVID disappeared,’ career nurse says

DAVIE, Fla. – She was one of Memorial Hospital West’s first nurse when it opened in Pembroke Pines in 1992. On Saturday, co-workers and friends gave her a special, yet bittersweet, send off.

Maureen Laighold is retiring after more than 28 years. She had planned on staying on to 30 or even longer, but the fear of getting sick from COVID-19 weighed heavily on her.

“I ended 28-plus years at Memorial West because of the COVID virus and fear of getting sick. It wasn’t my intent to leave that soon, but I just felt like it was the right thing to do.” The career nurse said: “I would go back in a minute if COVID disappeared.”

Laighold worked in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and co-workers who wished her well during a retirement parade Saturday in her Davie neighborhood said she was “the heart of her unit.”

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