As New York hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients in April, local paramedic Ed Escobedo voluntarily traveled there to man an ambulance and help the overworked health care system.
He's now home and coronavirus-free. But don't call him a hero.
"I came up (to New York) and I relieved some of the stress -- some of the pressure," he said. " But I wasn’t doing anything heroic about it.”
The retired Corpus Christi firefighter worked 12-hour overnight shifts for 22-straight days, handling a variety of calls for emergency services. If a patient didn't absolutely need to be hospitalized, Escobedo recommended they not go.
“Do you want to go up (to the hospital)?" Escobedo said he would ask patients. "COVID is all over it. It’s going into the frying pan. Do you want to do that?”
Escobedo returned to the Coastal Bend on May 13, but instead of returning to his Corpus Christi home, he rented a room at a Rockport bed-and-breakfast to decompress.
“There was a couple of things I needed to work through," he said. "Some of the calls got to me a little bit. So I needed a little time to reflect."
One of the cases Escobedo said affected him was that of a woman who'd lost her husband to COVID-19, only to become infected herself. She was badly sick when she arrived in his ambulance.
“That was a tough one knowing that she had been by herself -- hadn’t had time to mourn her husband," he said. "Taking her to the hospital was -- to all extents and purposes as far as I knew -- was going to be a one-way trip.”