May 9th through the 15th is National Hospital Week, and 2021 in particular is a year that we want to take the time to recognize and thank all of the staff at Door County Medical Center (DCMC) for everything that they have sacrificed to keep us healthy.
During the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has brought sadness and grief to many across the world and in our own community. Thousands of cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Door County. There was physical suffering, caused by the long-term after effects of COVID-19, and there was economic suffering, caused by the spring 2020 lockdown and the impact of social distancing on the service industry and other sectors of the economy.
But, the past year has also been one of triumph and resiliency. Globally, we saw a record set for the fastest development—only 11 months—of several highly efficacious vaccines. Locally, we saw the Door County community come together as multiple businesses and organizations united to create the Door County Meals Cooperative, which provided well over 100,000 meals to families who were hit hard by the pandemic-induced recession.
Coming together at Door County Medical Center
The coronavirus pandemic brought many changes to Door County Medical Center as well, and with each change, the staff at DCMC showed the same type of resiliency that the Door County community has shown throughout the course of the pandemic.
In order to address Door County’s increased medical needs, DCMC took a number of steps over the past year to adjust to the new realities that came with the coronavirus pandemic. A few of the steps we implemented were:
Doubling capacity: Taking DCMC from a 25- to a 50-bed hospital, and cross-training staff from the clinic and from surgery into other areas where they would be needed if there were a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Providing and expanding testing capabilities: From the beginning of the pandemic, DCMC was able to provide coronavirus tests, with nearly all tests performed in-house with a turnaround time of 48 hours or less.
Providing access to all authorized COVID-19 treatments: The three FDA approved treatments for COVID-19—Dexamethasone, Remdesivir, and convalescent plasma—have all been available, and in use, at DCMC.
Holding Facebook Live Q&As: The transmission of accurate information and knowledge was perhaps one of the most powerful tools we had to slow the transmission of the coronavirus, and throughout the past year, Dr. Jim Heise and Dr. Amy Fogarty, and Health Officer Susan Powers, held live Q&As on Facebook—answering the community’s questions, addressing community concerns and providing the information you need to keep you and your family safe.
Providing access to, and administering, vaccines: DCMC has been administering vaccines since receiving the first doses of the Moderna vaccine in late December. So far, we have administered almost 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine!
The team at Door County Medical Center took all of the above steps (and more!) while continuing to provide the same high-quality care for all the other non-COVID-19 related illnesses, ailments and conditions that occur in any given year, and while also maintaining our relationships and outreach with community organizations across Door County like the Boys & Girls Club, the Door County YMCA, Door County Public Schools and the Algoma Public Library.
Making all of this happen requires teamwork
Managing the retraining of staff and the adjustments to infrastructure that is part of pandemic preparedness requires the coordination and flexibility of not a few people, but of the entire DCMC team.
During the course of the pandemic, our registration staff and volunteers have continued to welcome patients and our essential workers—environmental services, housekeeping, and maintenance (to name a few)—have kept DCMC open and running smoothly 24/7. Lab technicians, pharmacists, therapists and educators have continued to work together to make sure you receive the care you need, and our Licensed Clinical Social Workers have kept providing valuable behavioral health services both in person and virtually.
Our physicians and nurses have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the year—making diagnoses, monitoring the patient’s condition, providing bedside care and comfort to ensure better outcomes, and performing medical procedures and interventions that have saved lives. Often, in the COVID-19 Isolation Unit, near constant patient care has resulted in long rotations for healthcare staff, nurses sometimes working a 12-day stretch—each day a 12-hour shift.
“Day in and day out, our employees have carried out our mission to further the healing ministry of Jesus Christ in the communities we serve every day - making sure our patients know how much we care about them, and how much we care about our community,” says President and CEO Brian Stephens, adding, “I couldn’t be more proud of this team’s response to the pandemic: their flexibility, their sacrifice, their collaboration and their dedication to patient care inspire me to do my best every day.”
So, during this National Hospital Week, May 9th through the 15th, please take the time to thank your doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, pharmacists and all of the other healthcare workers and hospital staff who are always here to care for you.
For more than 75 years, Door County Medical Center has been the leader in health and wellness for Door and Kewaunee counties. Our integrated medical center provides a wide range of specialties, including Primary Care, General Surgery, the Women’s and Children’s Center, the Door Orthopedic Center, Behavioral Health, the Door County Cancer Center, a skilled nursing facility, and rehabilitation services facilities among others. With its main campus in Sturgeon Bay and satellite clinics and rehabilitation services facilities in other smaller communities, DCMC provides expert care, close to home. More than 175 physicians serve on the medical staff. Visit www.dcmedical.org for more information.