Bell brothers are Frontline Falcons in Los Angeles, Minneapolis

Colin Bell and Evan Bell are among thousands of BGSU alumni fighting COVID-19

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Colin Bell ’09 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) for Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, intubating COVID-19 patients.

By Bob Cunningham ’18

Two brothers, now more than 1,500 miles apart, are Frontline Falcons, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by providing health care for patients in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

Both grew up in Bowling Green but took two different paths to similar careers.

Colin Bell ’09 and Evan Bell ’05 are among thousands of Bowling Green State University alumni serving in hospitals and other health care locations around the world, treating and caring for COVID-19 patients and putting themselves at risk in order to save lives.

Colin graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). He is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) for Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, intubating COVID-19 patients.

Evan earned a Bachelor of Science in telecommunications, now media production and studies,  and received a nursing degree in 2013. He is a registered nurse (RN), working in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and emergency department at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis.

“My BSN education was very important in preparation for working in health care,” Colin said. “It created a strong foundation for providing patient care and personal protective equipment (PPE) basics, which are especially important during this time.”

As a CRNA, he plans and administers anesthesia for all types of procedures, surgeries, laboring patients, as well as responding when patients arrest and “code.” In addition, he intubates, or inserts a breathing tube into, all hospitalized patients that require intubation. This line of work puts him in regular and direct contact with patients that are COVID-19 positive.

Evan Bell

Evan Bell ’05 Bachelor of Science in telecommunications, now media production and studies, and received a nursing degree in 2013. He is a registered nurse (RN), working in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) and emergency department at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis.

“Intubation is one of the procedures that aerosolizes the virus, putting all health care workers in the room at an even greater risk,” Colin said. “As someone who has seen the devastation this disease can cause, the thing I want people most to know is, this is not a joke. It is not over-exaggerated. These stay-at-home orders are vital so our hospital system does not get overwhelmed and result in greater suffering and death. Please follow social distancing and unless you have a health condition putting you at risk, reserve PPEs for the health care workers that need them.”

Evan concurs with Colin.

“Keep staying home. We seem to be flattening the curve and a lot of hospitals will be able to take care of projections as they are, but a spike in infections by resuming daily life could be catastrophic for hospitals,” Evan said. “The best thing people can do for health care workers is to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines.

“There could be a lot of change after the COVID-19 crisis is over and some of it could end up improving our lives and the world we live in. Stay safe, stay healthy and, despite how bored or lonely everyone may be getting, you aren't alone. We can get through this.”

Both brothers had advice for current and future BGSU students pursuing a degree in health care.

“Go to classes and learn the science,” Evan said. “You'll always be learning — even after graduation — since things are constantly changing in the medical world. Learn how to prioritize tasks and to make the best use of your time on the job. Just because something has been done one way, doesn't mean it's always the best way to do it. Be an innovator.”

“My advice would be to work hard and stay focused,” Colin said. “I had a rocky first couple years at BGSU and almost didn’t make it into the nursing program. My life would be very different now if I was not able to become an RN, and later a CRNA. It has been an incredibly rewarding career, and there is excellent job stability and the ability to move wherever you want.”

Evan and Colin are the sons of Jan ’76 and Carol Bibler Bell ’79 of Bowling Green.