Julia Lally has met thousands of patients during her 22 years as a nurse at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel, but it was one woman’s courageous spirit that made the most lasting impression on her.
Lally met Rose after she had been hospitalized for complications from her treatment for breast cancer, which was diagnosed at stage four. She was a wife and mother of three children and had no history of cancer in her family. Lally remembers that throughout Rose’s stay at Putnam Hospital Center, she never spent her days feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she tried to educate women on the importance of routine mammograms. She even made Lally promise to schedule one herself.
“I continue to share her message with my patients,” said the Mahopac resident. “I try to educate them on the importance of caring for themselves, which for women, includes mammograms.”
Lally’s patients come to her from Westchester communities such as Yorktown, North Salem and Somers.
She said one of the many positive aspects of working at Putnam Hospital Center is the camaraderie she has seen between her coworkers and the community.
“Sometimes the patients will say, ‘I know you!’ because I’ve taken care of them before,” Lally said. “And I love the older population and the stories they have to tell.”
Lally now works in the ER at Putnam Hospital Center. She also spent years in its psychiatric unit.
But wherever her nursing duties have taken her, they have made her realize how fragile life can be. That’s why she tries to instill in people the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“I encourage them to quit smoking, exercise, eat a healthier diet, follow up with your doctor, and love your friends and family, because there are no guarantees about tomorrow,” Lally said.