He redeployed his entire staff to work on the front lines in the hospital and saw a new level of coordination and commitment.
When the pandemic hit last March, all our medical offices essentially ceased to function as far as our seeing patients. Even if we were open to people coming in, nobody was coming in. So we used use a lot of resources from the offices and transferred those to the hospital. With the surge in patients, it quickly became like a war zone. And everybody felt it. But the most miraculous thing that we saw was how people stepped up. From physicians, to the nurses, to the PCTs (patient care technicians), to everyone who was on those floors, the willingness to put themselves in harm’s way was incredible.
With a couple of my colleagues, I worked to identify how to supplement the hospital’s team with our outpatient providers. We put a call out for people who were comfortable on the floors and within one day had 26 providers deep saying, “I’m happy to leave what I do in the office, walk through the floors and take a full service load.”
I’ve been at Hudson Valley since 2008, I’ve never seen anything like the level of coordination we achieved, to work together as a team, from inpatient, outpatient and across every level, from administration and operations to the providers, to the nurses, to the medical assistants, to the PCTs, the pharmacy, to IT. As disheartening it was to see the tragedy that was going on, I’ve never been so proud of watching this team.
We know we’re not out of the woods, but as those numbers improve and vaccines get out there, we do feel like we’re finally back to the point where we can do what we’ve signed up to in this profession. And that’s make people better and help get the world back to that normal life where your seven year old, doesn’t have to use the word quarantine. I am proud to be part of an organization that can work together. And I truly hope our memories aren’t short-lived. As we return to normal, I hope we can start focusing on the productivity and build on those relationships and the understanding of what we can do when we all work together.
For more stories on National Doctors Day visit: https://healthmatters.nyp.org/
Dr. Craig Hametz is the Chief, Department of Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and Medical Director, NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Hudson Valley