(201) Health 2021 Edition - Page 26


I���de the C��I� CRI�I�

�ol� �ame leader shares the tragedies and trium�hs o� the earl� da�s

In the darkest days ofthe COVID pandemic last spring , �oly Name Medical Center kept its employees ’ spirits up by bringing in hairdressers and barbers . The staff had no time for appointments , and the shops were closed , so why not help everyone feel alittle better ?

The Teaneck hospital also did its staff ’ s laundry , partly so they wouldn ’ t have to wear dirty scrubs home , but also to ease their stress . Itset up a “ Zen den ,” an oasis of calm as COVID-1� cases surged from none to�51 in seven weeks , with 45 patients onventilators .
When the clouds sometimes parted and aCOVID-1� patient was discharged , Felicia Temple �afinalist on The �oice who also happened to be a�oly Name nurse � sang Andra Day ’ s song “ �ise �p ” over the loudspeaker .
These nuggets about how the hospital cared for its staff and the community at the epicenter of NewJersey ’ shot zone fill the pages of �n the Time of C���D , abook written byDr . Adam Jarrett , the hospital ’ s chief medical officer , and Paul �osengren , acommunications specialist with aNorth Jersey medical device company .
It ’ satale both harrowing and heartwarming .
Available beds and ventilators were scarce . Every afternoon for four weeks , the staff evaluated each COVID patient to predict who would soon need aventilator to help them breathe and which of those already onventilators would soon expire . Then they would try to predict how many of the patients expected to arrive the next day would need the immediate use of a ventilator .
It was grim work �Jarrett ’ s assistant shed a tear as she updated the whiteboards in his office , he writes �and the gap between need and supply came uncomfortably close attimes . Mercifully , the hospital never ran out of intensive care beds . And patients never had to share a ventilator , a far-from-ideal Plan B that was ultimately abandoned .
The hospital also came “ dangerously close ,” he writes , to running out of the disposable gowns worn by nurses , as it used and disposed of � , 500 aday .
When the staff switched to reusable cloth gowns , which had been the norm years before , no local laundry service could take on the additional load . So drivers were recruited from among patient
transporters whose services were not needed , and each day they hauled the gowns back and forth to a Maryland hospital laundry . Flexibility was required of everyone . A colorectal surgeon became the “ ventilator czar ” and an emergency room physician the “ mask czar .” A primary-care doctor whose patient visits had dried up called families of IC� patients about the condition of their loved ones , speaking on behalf of busy critical-care physicians .
Physical therapists became the “ proning team ,” to spare nurses the cumbersome , complicated task of repositioning patients connected to ventilator hoses and intravenous lines so they would lie on their bellies , astrategy toincrease lung capacity . Jarrett recognizes the dedication of nurses and doctors , but it ’ s in highlighting the role of lesser-known players that the book offers a fresh perspective on the news of recent months .
That includes Steve Mosser , the executive vice president for operations , a former merchant mariner whose innovations in converting regular hospital rooms to negative-pressure rooms probably saved many on the staff from infection .
Mosser also devised the personal negative-pressure pods made of plexiglass that were used for individual patients . And he came up with the plans that transformed a storage area and an assembly hall into intensive care units , easing the bed crunch .
Also highlighted is Don Ecker , executive director of supply chain , who hunted for masks , gowns , gloves and ventilators � supplies which , thanks to him , never ran out . Jarrett notes that masks sent from the
2021 EDITION ( 201 ) HEALTH