Community rallies around MHM employees during COVID-19 crisis

Published 9:14 am Monday, September 13, 2021

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Memorial Hospital and Manor employees have been under an insurmountable amount of stress due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

With 14-hour shifts, workers feel often hopeless giving patients discouraging news about their oxygen levels. However, the Bainbridge community has stepped up to help lift the spirits of employees, especially MHM’s Respiratory Therapists.

Several churches have provided meals and treats to employees, while Bainbridge Church hosts a “Park and Pray” every Monday night from 7-7:30 p.m. in the parking lot.

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In addition, Cheryl Morrow, CBA provided a meal to the revenue cycle team, Jack and Joyce Leverett donated snacks and drinks to the frontline employees and Grace Christian Academy donated tons of drinks, snacks, chap sticks and cards to employees.

Doctors have even stopped to thank individual departments, purchasing pizzas for them to snack on in between room visits.

“It’s encouraging to receive this,” said Respiratory Therapist Leslie Stone. “But, what’s more encouraging than anything is seeing a patient get well.”

While seeing a patient get well tops the list, Stone said the food is a super sweet thought.

“On days when we are running, it’s great to be able to grab a cracker and go,” Respiratory Therapist Pat Dean said.

These gestures have gone a long way in boosting morale, as Respiratory Therapist Department Manager Chad Knight said this past week has been extremely difficult.

“It’s heart wrenching,” he said. “You can see the fright in their eyes and you’re trying to give them hope, but then they go to the BYPAP and it feels like you’re giving them a false sense of hope.”

Knight said the cases seem to be on a downward slope, though and his goal is to no longer have to give this false sense of hope.

In the meantime, the unit wants to reiterate their thanks for everything.

“When you come in wearing all that gear and are sweating and famished after a long shift, and you’re able to grab a peppermint or piece of chocolate, it’s great,” Stone said.

Dean said other individuals have brought them breakfast on the go in the mornings, because they are sometimes unable to eat a full lunch meal, which has made things so much easier.

“Day shift would have to be here at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and not get off until 6 or 7 p.m. that night,” she said. “We knew if we didn’t get here early, the work may not get done.”

Dean and Stone said most of their days are spent running back and forth between patients on the ventilator, encouraging patients to try to sit up and move and running to the ER for incoming patients.

“When we go home we are whipped physically and emotionally,” Knight said.

The encouragement doesn’t just stop at the hospital, as Stone said a neighbor cooked dinner for her, Dean and Knight, along with sending them flowers.

“Everything that’s been done has been appreciated,” Knight finished.

For those who would like to contribute to the grab and go meals for the various units at the hospital or send words of encouragement to nurses and Respiratory Therapists, contact Lauren Harrell at 229-243-6115.