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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

Heroes rush in, while others say sayonara

Joy Daughtery Dickinson is executive editor of the Hospital Group of publications at AHC Media and long-time editor and write of Same-Day Surgery. She has won nine national awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association and the Association of Business Information & Media Companies for her writing and editing. She makes her home in southwest Georgia.

The world was watching Emory University Hospital in Atlanta as it opened its doors to two healthcare providers infected with the Ebola virus in west Africa. With some people questioning why our country was bringing the virus here, two nurses on the Emory unit who had been scheduled to be on vacation cancelled their plans. They said, 'We have been training for this,'" according to Bruce Ribner, MD, who heads the unit.

While there, one of the Ebola-infected patients, Dr. Kent Brantly, released a statement that said in part, “I thank God for the healthcare team here who is giving me compassionate, world-class care.” We saw him hug each of the staff members from the isolation unit as he was released a few weeks later.

Other emergency departments around the country have moved quickly to make sure their policies and procedures are in order so that they’re prepared for any Ebola patients who show up. It’s just another day at the office for hospital clinicians who go in when there is trouble, while others move quickly in the other direction. The examples are numerous. As the hurricane season has shown us, hospital staff members stay and prepare for the injured while others evacuate. When wildfires and flood head toward hospitals, staff members stay to evacuate patients while others leave.

We’ve shared examples in this blog. We told you how hospital staff members in Boston comforted patients while digging shrapnel out of their bodies after the marathon bombings in 2013. (See "Will your hospital be `Boston strong' if a mass casualty happens?") In 2012, we told you how NYU Langone Medical Center evacuated all 300 patients after a storm surge flooded its basement and downed its generator power. (See `Everyone here is a hero’ – Hospital evacuates patients in middle of `Frankenstorm.’)

Instead of patting our heroes on the back, the feds are cutting the money allocated for disaster preparedness for hospitals and others. (See our blog “Federal funding drops for hospital disaster preparedness.”)

There’s something you can do, however. You can recognize the heroes at your facility. The American Hospital Association has a new Hospital Heroes page where you can post stories of employees at your hospital who go beyond what is expected. Who can you recognize today?