Healthcare workers reflect over last year, dealing with COVID-19

Healthcare workers reflect over last year, dealing with COVID-19

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Monday marks one year since COVID-19 took over our world. No question, the healthcare industry has felt the blunt impact of the illness and all that comes with it.

Baptist Health released some numbers from the last 365 days comparing how much personal protection equipment it used over the course of this past year other years. The hospital system used more than a million gowns, 580,000 needles and syringes, 3.5 million masks and face shields, 9.7 million gloves.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story of the incredible work that’s been done.

“We must face this challenge rather than wish it were not before us,” Baptist South CEO Peter Selman said.

That quote became a mantra for Selman as he navigated the hospital through the toughest year he’s experienced.

“Probably the most helpless and hopeless I felt through all of this was that I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to support our patients in our team members,” Selman said.

“To have so much loss in such a short period of time. That was the part that was the hardest,” explained Tiffany Bass, Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist South.

That was the grief that weighed so heavily on registered nurse Tracey Harper.

“You get to the feeling like is what it what we’re doing, is it making any difference?” Harper added.

Harper has faced some of the toughest COVID Cases.

”Through COVID, if you go on the ventilator, you have like a 15 percent chance of surviving,” Harper said.

She’s also witnessed some of the sweetest celebrations.

“He was on a ventilator in our unit for 41 days,” Harper explained one of her cases. “He came in on April the seventh. And he was discharged on June the sixth.

And through those experiences, she’s come to truly understand what means the most to her.

“That I love the family; my family, my work family, and my family. I didn’t get to see my mom much. She’s 86 or will be 86. And I missed her,” Harper added.

Tracey also became a grandmother in the last year and now has another grandbaby on the way. She recently transferred to a different hospital department that will not put her in such direct contact with COVID patients. The move allows her to spend time with family, especially those grandbabies, without having to quarantine for two weeks first.

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