Opinion

Hospital staff have served heroically

National Hospital Week is May 9 through May 15.  Perhaps no other year in more than a century has the impact of the community hospital been more critical than this past year during the COVID 19 Pandemic. 

Hospitals all across the nation have responded to this crisis and today, thanks to their efforts and the availability of vaccines, America is turning the corner and we are getting back to a new normal of life.

I have worked at Cary Medical Center for going on 42 years.  I have witnessed over my career some spectacular examples of bravery, courage, dedication and just plain hard work from literally thousands of men and women who have served this hospital and the Aroostook County community.  From the very outset of the COVID-19 virus I was impressed with the way our clinical staff stood up and never looked back, never wavered in their commitment to protect and save lives.   

Everyone, from our housekeepers to our maintenance and support departments, stayed on the front lines so that the vital operations of the hospital could continue.  I know this is true for hospitals all across the nation, but I witnessed it personally at Cary Medical Center.

Many of the actions taken by the hospital during the pandemic included multiple testing we did for hundreds or thousands of exposed individuals, every employee wearing a mask throughout their shift every day, screening of all visitors and mandated masking, which wasn’t always a pleasant encounter.   Still, I am so proud of those in our community for their willingness to wear masks and do what was necessary to limit the virus.  Because of them we are finally seeing a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Hospital leadership, particularly Dr. Regen Gallagher, our chief medical officer, who took on the leadership role in managing our response to the virus, was a true hero.  So many others — too many to name — gave everything they had in this incredible challenge.  

Our staff, in every department, particularly our nursing, laboratory and other clinical staff, are tired and rightfully so.  The year has been exhausting for everyone.   In spite of the challenges, once again, Cary was nationally recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals for obstetrics and this year for emergency care as well.  Just recently we learned that Cary earned another ‘A’ grade from the Leapfrog Group.  Cary is rated among the best hospitals in the nation for patient safety, clinical quality and customer satisfaction.  

There is always room for improvement and we are always setting the bar higher, but such performance during such difficult circumstances is only possible because of an incredible team.

As I said earlier, I have done public relations for Cary Medical Center for more than 40 years.  Not once in all of those years have I been more proud of this organization.  Thanks to everyone and to our generous community for making this year’s National Hospital Week one to remember.

Bill Flagg is director of community relations and development at Cary Medical Center.

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