I know most of us are following the Hurricane Sandy updates. Social media makes it easier to ensure that loved ones are safe and encourage those in the thick of it. As of this post, millions are without power and I hear the number of deaths climbing even as I write.
This morning, I awoke before the sun and immediately reached for my phone. I came across photos of magnificent damage, as well as stories of magnificent bravery. I spent a little time trying to convey the weight of it all to Lucas, the twelve year old who barely remembers Katrina and has only heard stories of Hugo. Lucas expresses interest in working in the medical field one day, and he took particular interest in last night’s story of the NYU hospital’s power (and subsequent back-up generator) failing. You can read more about this amazing story here and here.
Last night, nurses and emergency personnel were able to keep critically ill patients alive, using just their smarts and their hands. While I slept, one nurse manually bagged a ventilated patient for hours, at times in the pouring rain. While I slept, one nurse assisted a team in evacuating tiny babies down nine floors and into waiting ambulances. Those ambulances took the patients and their nurses to a different hospital, where the same team continued to provide care in a setting somewhat foreign to them.
I know the healthcare industry does important work every day, regardless of title or location or job description. But today, I want to honor the ones who put their lives at risk during disasters… like the tornado that whipped through a Missouri hospital last year, or the current damage by Hurricane Sandy. I want to celebrate the staff and volunteers who ignored exhaustion and stress and hunger last night. You kept your patients safe while the world looked on. Well done, team. I don’t know a single one of you, but I sure am proud to call you mine.