Two Marian University grads overcome medical school and COVID-19 battles to get their diplomas

Two Marian University Grads Overcome Medical School and Covid-19 Battles to Get Their Diplomas

Two medical students walked across the stage on Sunday. For them, getting their diplomas meant so much more after months of personal struggles relating to COVID-19.

On Sunday, graduations were happening all over Central Indiana and for every graduate, it was a special day. But for two Marian University students, Sunday’s ceremony had an even bigger meaning.

“It feels just kind of surreal. It’s been a long year,” said Carolina Vogel, a graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Marian University.

Vogel’s mom Lesley is a nurse at Ascension St. Vincent in Carmel. Back in March 2020, Lesley caught COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital and on a ventilator.

“We spent a lot of time not knowing if she would be here. She ended up being two months in the hospital,” Vogel said.

Last Mother’s Day is when things began to look up. Lesley was still in the hospital but was able to call her daughter for the first time on her own.

“For the first time in almost 50 or 60 days, my phone rang, and it said ‘Mom.’ It was her calling me and she was finally off enough sedation to communicate. It was really special,” Vogel said.

So, this year, after months of recovery, Carolina gave her mom the ultimate Mother’s Day gift by graduating from medical school. Her dad was even the one to place her hood during the ceremony.

The pandemic also affected graduate Ramya Yeleti. She had COVID-19 in April 2020 and then four months later tested positive again. Days later, her heart failed. Doctors say it is still unclear what happened, but they believe coronavirus may have infected her heart.

“My heart stopped. I coded on the table, and they had to do all kinds of life support to get me to come back,” Yeleti said.

It took Yeleti months to recover after doctors had to do open heart surgery since her heart was so damaged.

“When I woke up, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t really move at all. People had to roll me,” she said.

But on Sunday, she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. She shared the special moment with her dad, who is a local cardiologist.

Yeleti will conduct her residency at Geisinger Health in Pennsylvania and Vogel will conduct her residency at Franciscan St. Francis on the city’s south side.

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