“I looked around, and here come my residents, here come my colleagues driving in—knowing that once the tornado came through, they likely would not be able to get from one side of town to the other,” said Dr. David Hogan, recounting his experience as an emergency room physician at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City in the aftermath of last year’s devastating tornado that tore through the region.
This story—the one in which physicians, nurses and emergency personnel put aside their personal interests and sometimes their personal safety to tend to the needs of patients and community members struck by unthinkable tragedy—is one that plays out in big and small ways every day. And it’s one that is celebrated in The Voices of Health Care, a video documentary that debuted at the 2013 Press Ganey National Client & Executive Leadership Conferences in November.
Through interviews with victims, first responders, caregivers and health care administrators who were touched in some way by the Oklahoma tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, and the Boston Marathon bombing, the video gives voice to the heart and soul of health care. And it is something that could never be scripted. For each interview, we sat down and asked what it was like to be there, caring for patients amid the chaos and devastation. And we listened the answers, with awe and respect.
“Yes, we train, we drill; we try to be as prepared as we possibly can, but there’s always the unknown,” said Glenn Robinson, CEO of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, Scott & White Healthcare, in Waco, Texas. “Our job is to make sure that when [patients] come here … that they leave here better than they came.”
And the definition of “here” in a time of crisis extends beyond the walls of a single emergency department or hospital to the broader health care community. “[That is] what’s amazing about these times. You may be competitors during a business day, but at the end of the day, we all come together to serve our communities, to serve the people that have entrusted us with their care. It’s an honor and a privilege to watch that happen.”
It is also an honor and a privilege to pay tribute to the first responders, doctors, nurses and employees who act selflessly and without hesitation to meet the needs of patients in their care every day.
“When I was able to, I would keep good eye contact and say, ‘It’s going to be alright. You’re here. You’re safe. It’s going to be okay,’ ” Dr. Hogan said.