Working Through a Pandemic in a Community Hospital, God’s Word Sustains.

Elizabeth (Mandell) Hatton (’02) has made the drive to her job as a physician assistant at Georgetown Community Hospital over the past year and a half, the word of God has been a constant comfort, played through the audio Bible in her car. 

At work on shifts that have at times put her in the position of being the only person who can pray with a sick individual isolated from family and loved ones, Elizabeth has carried a notebook with scripture passages about light and darkness.

Within Psalm 139, which has spoken to her throughout her life, Elizabeth has often brought to mind verses 11 and 12, which celebrate the ever-presence of God’s grace, even in the darkest night.

Daily engagement with the word of God through song and scripture is one of Elizabeth’s most enduring memories of her time at Fredericksburg Christian School and something that has sustained her during her work as a healthcare provider in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Holy Spirit uses it, whether I am at work or at home. He just brings to mind scripture, and that is really the way that FCS has impacted me and prepared me,” she said. “My relationship with the Lord affects everything I do, and it’s why I do everything I do.”

Elizabeth is the daughter of Stephen and Ellen Mandell, and the oldest of three siblings—brother Chris (’05) and sister Tabitha (’07)—to attend Fredericksburg Christian School. 

Growing up in Bowling Green, the Mandell children had a 45-minute commute to school, but “my parents felt that Christian education was extremely important,” Elizabeth said.

That’s not the only way she was influenced by her father, who has served multiple stints as a member of the FCS Board of Directors.

Stephen Mandell’s passion for the athletic teams of his alma mater, the University of Kentucky (UK), is part of the reason Elizabeth now calls Lexington, KY, home.

“He definitely indoctrinated me in Kentucky athletics,” she laughed.

Elizabeth got to work with many of Kentucky’s athletic teams during her undergraduate years at UK. That work is where she met her husband, Kyle Hatton, an IT professional for the Kentucky athletics program.

Elizabeth graduated with a degree in psychology and all the prerequisites to attend physician assistant school, a path influenced by years of watching her father work as a physician in Bowling Green before transitioning to the Senior Medical Director for Mary Washington Healthcare.

“Seeing him practice gave me a love for medicine,” she said. 

Elizabeth attended physician assistant school at James Madison University and completed her rotations in Fredericksburg. She married Kyle in 2009 and moved to Lexington. One of Elizabeth’s first jobs was a three-year stint working with leukemia and lymphoma patients who were receiving blood and bone marrow transplants. Working with these patients–many of whom were fighting for their lives–at a time when they were immunocompromised and isolated from many of their loved ones helped prepare Elizabeth for her work with COVID-19 patients.

“To be a part of the worst moment of someone’s life is not something that should be taken lightly. It holds significant gravity and responsibility,” Elizabeth said. “I feel as a Christian I am there to provide medical care, but I am very aware that I am one of the only people these people are seeing during the day. Praying with them or trying to encourage them is part of why I am there.”