Every year we mark National Hospital Week by thanking our loyal, committed healthcare employees who perform many unsung tasks as they save lives and help patients recover.
Normally, it’s an annual celebration within our University Health System family, and we don’t send out a media advisory. But 2020 hasn’t been a normal year for hospitals and healthcare. And what we’ve learned about our capabilities, resourcefulness and ability to meet challenges has given all of us new pride in who we are. As the threat of COVID-19 escalated and the going got tough, the tough, creative folks got going here at University Health.
So, if you’ll indulge us, we want to mark this National Hospital Week, May 10-May 16, by sharing some of where we’ve been so far since we began living with COVID-19: how we’ve responded to challenges with solutions; how we’ve worked with partners to meet the healthcare needs of our community; how we’re conducting research that may lead to treatments for this coronavirus.
Here are some of our accomplishments:
- Our preparation for the unknown. In January, when we saw the effects of COVID-19 in China, we worked with suppliers to ensure a good supply of masks, gloves, gowns and equipment. We’ve erected tents outside our emergency department in the event of a surge in patients.
- Our commitment to the community. As COVID-19 led to the cancellation of blood drives, we joined hands with South Texas Blood and Tissue. We engaged partners to help successfully encourage vital blood donations. Our staff assisted in opening a community testing site for first responders and healthcare workers.
- Our resourcefulness in guaranteeing the safety of our frontline employees. Our chief nurse executive helped repurpose a sterilization process that allows us to reuse our N95 masks. She designed an effective replacement mask that’s been tested for effectiveness and is available if we have a surge of COVID-19 cases.
- Our ability as an academic hospital to help discover lifesaving treatments. With our partners at UT Health San Antonio we are providing our COVID-19 patients with access to the drug remdesivir, which has already been shown to reduce the length of hospitalization. We are participating in plasma therapy research, another promising treatment.
- Our support of local therapies and technologies. We are helping bring a portable ventilator onto the market by using our simulation facility to test and improve the ventilator’s effectiveness.
This is a just a short list with examples of why we want to share our celebration of this National Hospital Week. It’s also an opportunity to say thank you for the unwavering support we’ve received from generous donors and supporters. We really are all in this together. And we believe that as a resourceful, caring community, we are meeting the challenge.