Earlier this week, images of our city under water became national news. We saw abandoned cars and homes partially submerged in murky water. And newscasts shared the faces and stories of families who’d lost all but each other. Seeing these images was difficult, and hearing the stories of the losses suffered was heart wrenching.
In the midst of such devastation, the stories that also capture our collective attention are those of the people reaching out to help. As quickly as they could, people came to the rescue of neighbors and many went to areas of need to give aid and supplies. It reminds us that people’s hearts are intact and that there is much for which to be thankful. But I don’t need to look very far to be reminded of that because time and again, you demonstrate such incredible dedication to caring for our patients, especially in times of difficulty.
Early Monday, we began one-to-one hand-offs, essentially allowing a nurse to end the shift once another nurse arrived for relief. Many physicians, nurses and other staff, even after relieved, chose to remain at the hospital in sleeping rooms to rest and ensure they could provide relief for the next shift. As the leadership team met throughout the day to assess the situation across the organization, at one point, staffing was described as “adequate to abundant.” In the midst of a historic storm, our staff was here … unwavering, at the ready.
I must also acknowledge how incredible our leadership team was. They were in constant motion, assessing, responding, planning and pitching in right beside their staff and employees to ensure uninterrupted patient care and seamless operations. Sara Howell at the West Campus was one of many who sent me a note earlier this week to comment on leaders’ efforts. She said:
I was very impressed with the administration team at West Campus during the flooding. Chanda came into the EC with her running shoes on, literally. She was so eager to make sure we were functioning. When it was expressed that garbage needed to be pulled, instead of delegating this tedious task, Chanda and another admin team member put on the blue gloves and cleared out trash from patient rooms and the core area. During a time when so much was happening operationally, it was extremely impressive to have leadership make sure we were functioning at ALL levels.
I agree Sara. It was remarkable – not in the sense that it surprised me. But rather, it simply touched me so very deeply to see how selfless and committed everyone here is to our patients, their families and to our Texas Children’s family.
By the same token, I know that many of you couldn’t be here. Your heart was here, but I know you were impacted by this storm like so many others throughout our community. And evacuating, sheltering in place or taking care of your loved ones was what you most needed to do. Please know you all were in my prayers, whether you were here, taking care of our families or at home tending to yours. Also, if you were impacted by the storm, know that we are here to help. We have resources in place to provide some of the support you may need at this time.
I understand that it’s not always easy to respond to others’ needs in the midst of uncertainty. Yet, you do it without pause. That commitment and willingness to serve others is what brings us together. You’ve heard me say that it’s our calling to be here, to give of ourselves, to use our skills and talents to care for others, especially when no one else can. Thank you all for answering that call, rain or shine.