By Dr. Lori J. Morgan
Special to the Outlook
Given all that our community – and state, nation and world – has been through over the past couple of months, I wanted to share some of the remarkable stories about Huntington and our greater community that have emerged from everyone’s heroic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I also want to highlight some of what we are planning in the future. While this pandemic continues to impact the hospital, the health of our community and our daily lives, I want to assure everyone that Huntington Hospital is well prepared to serve all of you safely through these challenging times.
DONATIONS AND SUPPORT
At the start of the outbreak, we asked everyone in our community to help do their part to flatten the curve by staying home, social distancing and maintaining hygienic practices. In addition to taking these important steps, our community came together to help by donating masks and other critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as critical funding for the purchase of PPE. These remarkable donations allowed our caregivers to continue treating our patients safely.
I’m happy to share that, thanks in part to your generosity, we have an adequate supply of masks for all who enter our hospital, including N-masks for anyone providing patient care – protecting them, our patients and our greater community. The tremendous response from the community in the face of this unprecedented health crisis shows that our community is resilient, compassionate and, most of all, strongest when we work together.
PPE AND INFECTION PREVENTION PROTOCOLS
While there are some positive signs, the challenge from this pandemic is far from over. We remain prepared for a potential surge. Our dedicated physicians have stepped up so that they can be called on for additional support should we need it. Your ongoing donations of PPE — which have been nothing short of miraculous — are greatly appreciated to ensure we can maintain our supplies in a time of great shortages while this pandemic continues.
The hospital’s partnership with the city of Pasadena also ensures we can respond quickly. As our world is still learning about immunity, re-infection and other aspects of the virus, we continue to take steps to preserve PPE and other critical resources. The hospital and our caregivers remain vigilant. We continue to maintain the highest standards of infection prevention protocols, including screening everyone before entering the hospital and continuing to limit visitors with very few exceptions.
DO NOT DELAY EMERGENCY CARE
I want you to know that we are constantly reviewing visitation policies. We will update them as the situation evolves. Please be sure to check our website – huntingtonhospital.org – for the latest policy updates. It is my hope that we will be able to moderate these necessary restrictions in the very near future. All of us at Huntington know how important it is to be close to loved ones in times of need.
We also want you to know that the Emergency Department remains open and ready to serve those experiencing health emergencies. Please, do not delay emergency care. We know how vital it is to provide needed care to all patients who are in need.
As an integral part of our ongoing treatment efforts, we have telehealth options with Exer Urgent Care and primary care through Hunting Hospital Physicians (HHP). You can find out more information under the FAQ portion of our COVID webpage.
CRUCIAL ELECTIVE SURGERIES RESUME
I am very happy to share with you that we recently began preparations for the resumption of some elective surgeries and other procedures. We are carefully and thoughtfully following guidelines from the American College of Surgeons so that we can resume the elective surgeries that can no longer be delayed, such as heart and cancer-related surgeries.
Huntington Hospital’s COVID-19 testing capabilities have expanded to include in-house and outsource lab testing, despite that fact that certain testing supplies remain limited. We are now providing antibody testing for those who think or know they had COVID-19 and are completely recovered — you must wait a minimum of 10 days after being symptom free to test for antibodies.
CELEBRATE HOSPITAL WEEK
Finally, in appreciation for all of our caregivers who have displayed tremendous courage and commitment in the face of this health crisis, we are celebrating Nurses and Hospital Week during the first two weeks May. We are grateful for the outpouring of notes, comments, photos and videos our community members have sent honoring our caregivers; these messages show our Huntington Heroes how much they’re appreciated during this difficult time. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to share your messages for our hardworking doctors, nurses and support staff here: https://files.zovida.com/sharing/KR8k4MVzY. (Please note that by uploading a photo or video, you’re giving us full rights to use it.)
Together with each of you in our community, Huntington Hospital will continue to combat this pandemic. We look forward to the day when we can thank each of you in person for your role in keeping our community safe. Until that time, please stay safe and stay healthy, and know that we are here for you.
Dr. Lori J. Morgan is president and CEO at Huntington Hospital.