Health Care Hero: Giving lots of hugs during family absences

Meritta S. Eby

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Meritta S. Eby

The Dayton Daily News is profiling the people who work hard every day to save lives and take care of us. Nominate a Health Care Hero by emailing

Name: Meritta S. Eby RRT

Hometown (where you live now): Ross Twp. (Hamilton)

Job title: Respiratory Therapist

Where do you work: St. Joseph Home of Cincinnati. St. Joseph is a home for adults and children with developmental disabilities who have complex support needs and use a wheelchair for mobility. A nonprofit ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati has served the unmet needs of society since 1873.


Describe what your day is like/what you do: Waking up at 4:30 a.m. is the hardest part of my day, but my work day starts at 6:00 a.m., five days a week. All respiratory therapists main job is to maintain the airway. My day starts checking ventilators, greeted by smiles and silent laughter. Breathing treatments, airway clearance therapy, maintaining and stocking equipment. Supporting a great nursing staff.

Health Care Hero: ‘I really love my job’

What inspired you to get into health care? Honestly, in 1978, I has just looking for a better paying job, and respiratory has grown so much in the 40-plus years I've worked. Every day inspires me, watching these kids grow and play, laugh and cry.

What's a memorable experience you've had in health care? There has been so many memorable times but one time that still gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes is when I helped a terminally ill, trached, ventilator resident talk to her husband. I put a speaking valve in-line with the ventilator circuit and asked her who this guy was standing next to me and she replied, "My lover."

Health Care Hero: ‘I became a nurse to make a difference’

What do you want readers to know about your job right now? Right now with COVID-19, our residents miss their families so much, and please let them know that we are keeping them safe and giving them lots of hugs in their absence.