Page 29 - White Plains Hospital Annual Report 2019-2020
P. 29

   Dr. Michael Gott
“Our nursing colleagues had more limited resources than we did, and at the end of the day, everything we were doing was about helping the patient to get better, to get them up, to get them to eat and drink, to counsel and answer questions, and help them to be discharged home,” notes Dr. Mani. “So a lot of these duties were traditionally nursing. Because our nurses were inundated, the doctors and surgeons, dubbed the Essential Extenders, volunteered and took over some of those duties so our nurses could maintain the quality of care they always provide.”
Naturally, there were some reservations. Cardiologist Dr. David Solarz had not worked as an inpatient internist since he was in residency 11 years ago, and he had a family at home to protect. He was wary about exposing himself to the virus, which had already infected several other doctors he knew, including a colleague he had worked closely with at another hospital, who passed away from COVID-19.
But he had also been following developments around the world since January through a colleague in Hong Kong close to the virus outbreak in Wuhan. She had instructed him on all the equipment to make sure he had in hand, including a respiratory mask, jumpsuit, goggles, and face shield.
Dr. David Solarz
Dr. Solarz was paired with endocrinologist Dr. Kay Lovig, and together they became one of many hospitalist teams. They would manage a complex census of patients every day, performing exams, prescribing medicine, and staying connected with patients’ family members by telephone or secure
care doctors (intensivists), respiratory therapists, physician assistants, and especially the nurses, were quickly becoming taxed physically and emotionally. At the height of the pandemic, hundreds of WPH patients were critically ill and required intensive, hourly care.
“As a physician you feel a call to duty whenever there’s an emergency,” says Dr. Michael Gott, an orthopedic surgeon with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates. “I wanted to do something, but it was hard to figure out what to do with my specific training. As an orthopedic surgeon, my clinical acumen is not in caring for patients with respiratory conditions.”
“Everyone wanted to contribute however we could,” says Dr. William Suggs, a vascular surgeon with WPHPA, who performs both emergency and elective surgeries at the Hospital. “With fewer patients to see in the office, it only made sense that we would go where we were most needed at the time.”
The desire to help was met with a perfect solution: Dr. Neritan Mani, Associate Medical Director, Department of Medicine, was working with administration on a redeployment plan. By that point, recruiting from the outside was virtually impossible with the number of COVID-19 cases rising across the tri-state area and the country. The objective was to bring a number of outpatient physicians into the Hospital to assist in both routine but crucial medical and nursing duties. Says Dr. Mani: “The response was tremendous.”
Close to 100 physicians were deployed to different areas of the Hospital during the pandemic. That translated to the addition of seven additional hospitalists, every day, to help care for patients — a tremendous boost in staffing.
  2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT 27

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