By Kelly Linden
Special to the Leader
A year ago we could never have imagined the challenges that were ahead of us as a medical center and as a community. It has been an unprecedented time to work in health care.
I am incredibly proud of the caregivers and providers at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center for their unwavering dedication to care for and ease the way for every patient that came through our doors.
We are fortunate at Providence Saint Joseph to have the space for separate, dedicated units to treat COVID-19 patients. In addition, we have advanced technology and an exceptional clinical team at Saint Joseph’s caring for our COVID-19 patients, and that has led to some amazing outcomes for our patients.
Continually striving for clinical excellence, I am pleased to share our many accomplishments earned in 2020, including Magnet designation, which is the highest recognition for nursing excellence; becoming a Comprehensive Stroke Center; Healthgrades designation as a Top 100 Hospital and “One of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery.” These are national recognitions that speak to the quality of care we provide the community.
Since May, we have implemented extensive safety protocols in order to continue performing elective surgeries and procedures as well as routine screenings including colonoscopies and mammograms. We know that many people have postponed screenings and delayed seeking medical care — even during a medical emergency. We want our community to know we are safe and that they should not delay care.
The PSJMC Emergency Department is safe and prepared for all patients experiencing a medical emergency. We cannot emphasize enough that no one should delay seeking medical care out of fear. Any delay in seeking emergency medical treatment can result in complications, long-term side effects and place your life at greater risk.
Our priority is the health and safety of our caregivers, providers and the community. This holiday season will continue to be challenging because we all desperately want life to return to some sense of normalcy. As you have seen in the news, all hospitals in Los Angeles are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 patients following the Thanksgiving holiday. Experts are predicting the surge to get worse before it gets better. It is so important that each of us resist the urge to gather in large groups over the next several weeks, and follow the state and local community “stay at home” requirements.
With the knowledge that emergency use authorization has been granted for one vaccine and is likely to for another vaccine in the coming days, we need to understand it will take several months before vaccines are widely available for the community. During the months ahead, we all must remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks and continuing to socially distance.
We spent the last year working together — the medical center and the community. I cannot say it enough — we are extraordinarily grateful to the community for supporting our caregivers and providers, from donations of personal protective equipment to thousands of meals to a parade from first responders. We could feel the love from our community!
As always, we are ready to care for all of your health-care needs.
Kelly Linden is chief executive of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.