Published on April 24, 2020

Physicians pitching in to help with patient surge

Jessica Brewer, LMH Health

Across the country, we see examples of hospitals becoming overwhelmed by a surge of patients with COVID-19. This can sound intimidating, alarming and downright scary. 

LMH Health has been actively preparing for the surge, and providers across the community and here at LMH Health are stepping up to help.

Jared Abel, associate vice president of strategy and service for LMH Health, said that as part of its disaster preparedness efforts, the health system is working quickly to identify clinicians to assist in a potential patient surge.

“Nearly 70 medical professionals in the area have volunteered to provide care to LMH Health, and that may be vitally important during a COVID-19 surge,” Abel said. “The training underway ensures that these providers have a clear understanding of how COVID-19 patients are cared for at LMH Health. The clinicians who may assist during a potential patient surge are qualified and prepared.”

Dr. Marc Scarbrough, a hospitalist at LMH Health, said his team is ready to support this effort.

“Our critical care team is prepared to work with practitioners during a surge,” Dr. Scarbrough said. “Family medicine physicians, in particular, have training in a broad array of care and are skilled in taking care of sick patients in an emergency care situation. The addition of these providers, paired with the people who do this work every day, ensures that LMH Health is prepared to serve our community.”

Each provider would work alongside a hospitalist to manage incoming patients and provide general medical care. Dr. Scarbrough said that thanks to recent preparations, LMH Health has the capacity to provide care to those who might need it.

Both Abel and Dr. Scarbrough commented on the phenomenal response from the community offering assistance in case of a surge.

“The teamwork between the medical staff at LMH Health and the community is truly exceptional,” Dr. Scarbrough said. “I am proud to be a part of this team.”

Dr. Lee Reussner, an otolaryngologist with Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates, is doing his part to aid in any way he can. He decided to fill some of his downtime with educational materials.

“In these slower times, I wanted to brush up on pulmonary issues and education and take a refresher course on ventilators,” Dr. Reussner said. “I had some experience in my first year of residency and decided to hop online and find some courses I could take to learn more.”

Reussner said that he appreciates all that everyone is doing right now for our community, adding, “I have seen all of the hard work and preparation that many physicians are doing, and I know that if they need assistance from doctors who can provide care outside of their normal practice, we are in a community that will step up and help.”

One of the many physicians who volunteered to provide care is Dr. Steve Myrick, a physician with the LMH Health Wound Healing Center. He said when it came to this decision, he did not think twice about stepping up.

“I feel very strongly that one of the callings of being a physician is to help others when they are in need,” Dr. Myrick said. “Therefore, I had no hesitation when volunteering.”

Dr. Myrick said that though he mostly works with wound healing, he has the training and the expertise to serve as a triage physician and assist those on the frontline in their times of need. Whether Lawrence experiences a surge or not, Dr. Myrick stressed the importance of the community in helping slow the curve and doing your part.

“I don’t think we can over emphasis the importance of doing your part to keep our community safe,” he said. “We hope it doesn’t come to this, but if it does, I said, ‘Sign me up.’”

Physicians pitching in to help with patient surge

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