Friends, family aim to keep nurse’s spirit alive through scholarships
By B.C. Manion
It was Bettina Carroccetto’s day off from her job as a charge nurse in the pediatric emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa.
The Wesley Chapel woman had spent the day at the beach and was on her way home when she lost control of her 2000 Isuzu sport utility vehicle on Interstate 275, near Bearss Avenue.
“Something caused her to lose control of the car. We don’t know what it was. We’ll probably never know,” said Susan Carroccetto, Bettina’s mother.
“She went off the road to the right,” Susan said. It wasn’t a steep incline, but the car hit the dirt and rolled.
Bettina was wearing her seatbelt, but was partially ejected from the car, Susan said.
Bettina was not speeding, her mother said. “There was no alcohol. No drugs. Not even an aspirin. She was fully rested. We know she wasn’t on her phone. She wasn’t texting.
“We thought it was a blow out,” Susan said, but it wasn’t.
“There were witnesses that were behind Bettina when this happened. They didn’t see anything to cause it to happen,” Susan said.
“Bettina died immediately,” her mother said. “She was 29. She is 29 forever.”
While her family and friends may never know what caused the accident, they do know this: The young nurse, who died on April 7, 2010, was devoted to providing care to others.
So, her family and friends are working to keep Bettina’s legacy alive by raising money for nursing scholarships.
The Bettina Carroccetto Memorial Fund for Nursing Excellence is having its first golf tournament to benefit St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Foundation on Monday, June 6. The tournament will be at the Westchase Golf Club, 11602 Westchase Golf Drive in Tampa. Registration is at noon and the shotgun starts at 1:30 p.m. The deadline for registration is May 27.
Bettina graduated from the University of South Florida with a biology degree and went on to become a registered nurse. After she obtained her nursing degree, she went to work for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
She was in the process of preparing to pursue a master’s degree at the time when the accident happened, Susan said.
“She loved medicine,” Susan said, and, “she absolutely adored children.”
“She was loved by her co-workers, her patients, her friends and obviously, her family,” Susan added.
Bettina was also a spiritual woman, her mother said. There was a prayer called “Mary, Help Me,” that she said all of the time, her mother said. “She had it on her refrigerator. She had it on her bathroom mirror. She had it with her in the car and she had it in her locker at work.”
The memorial fund aims to help others who want to be nurses, to carry on the kind of work that Bettina did so well, her mother said.
“It’s such an irony that she died in such a traumatic way, when she spent the better part of her days in a trauma room,” her mother said.
After the funeral, there was a memorial at St. Joseph’s Hospital and someone at the hospital took Bettina’s mom into the trauma room and told her about her daughter: “This is where she saved countless lives. This is where she did her best work. This is her room.”