Flower Mound nurse practitioner diagnosed with COVID-19 after helping in New York

A Flower Mound nurse practitioner is back after 24 days on the frontlines in New York City. She is now hospitalized with COVID-19 and talking to FOX 4 about her experience.

Allyson Smith just recently came back home last week after spending nearly a month caring for patients in New York. But she’s now a patient herself and is sharing her experience.

“The people that are going from other places are called heroes, but not at all,” Smith said. “It's the people that are there, day in and day out. Those are the heroes.”

The Flower Mound native says she originally signed up to help on the frontlines in New York because she wanted to learn from the experience. She was assigned to a Coney Island hospital for 24 days.

“The person doing our orientation said this hospital is considered a hot zone,” she recalled. “Every floor is a COVID floor, and they had lost already eight staff members to COVID when I got there. So that's pretty sobering.”

Smith shared cell phone video she shot of the memorial service the hospital held for team members and others they’d lost to COVID-19. 

“One of the nurses that I worked with, he had a patient that was dying. And he just stopped everything and literally sat by his patient. Makes me want to cry,” Smith recalled. “And he held his hand for four hours, and everybody else jumped in and did his nursing work.”

But with moments of loss also came triumph. The hospital saw their 500th discharged COVID-19 patient.

Within days of coming back home, Smith found herself feeling symptoms and was recently admitted to the hospital.

“We use PPE always. Like, I was so careful. So careful. N-95 and everything,” she said. “On the bus. In the elevators. Showered the minute we got off our shift. I don't know what else I could have done.”

But despite her diagnosis, Smith is staying positive. She says this is a time to come together.

“I see people arguing on social media about opening things and closing things, this and that. Everybody has their reasons for everything. And I get it. And I'm not going to voice my opinion on any of that,” she said. “But I don't think it's going away anytime soon. So we're gonna have to learn how to band together and live with it.”

Smith isn't sure when she'll be able to return home, but she’s continuing to update friends and family through Facebook Live videos.