By Russell Baxley, MHA
There may be different opinions and schools of thought about the Covid-19 virus — the seriousness of the disease, how it spreads, the real mortality rate, whether it is “just” another flu, and other factors used to assess pandemics. Nevertheless, what we know without a doubt is that what we do right now, in this moment, will dictate both the spread and the impact of this pandemic, especially in our community.
If the images from other communities seem too distant or too irrelevant to change your behavior, I would urge you to consider the healthcare heroes at your local hospital who charge headlong into this battle every single day. Many among our team cannot socially distance because their jobs require them to come to work every day, don protective equipment in hopes of staying safe, and prepare to treat those who need us the most.
Unlike comic book heroes, our healthcare heroes get sick just like anyone else. They put their families at risk every time they go home. Yet, they still come back day after day to do it all over again.
So if you are wondering why you should follow the rules of social distancing and you are not worried about yourself, think about the nurse, physician, respiratory therapist, or other healthcare personnel who are putting their health and lives on the line every day for our community.
Think about that mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister who goes home every day and has to distance themselves from their families for fear of infecting them. They are here for you and always will be. What we are asking is that you also be here for them, because if we lose even one person in this fight, then we will have lost one person too many.
Recently, I felt compelled to share our Covid-19 outbreak efforts as the President of Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Friday afternoon I shared publicly what we have done to serve the community during this crisis and how we are preparing to serve the community when this crisis escalates.
We hope and pray that what we have laid out is only an exercise in disaster preparedness and that we never have to follow through with all of our plans. However, make no mistake, that outcome is only possible if we all do our part with social distancing, hand hygiene and infection prevention so we can flatten the curve.
No matter your age or your beliefs, follow the rules. All of them. What you do right now will make a difference. Perhaps a life-or-death difference. And, when we look back — when YOU look back, on the decisions you made during this time, how do you think history will judge you? More importantly, how will you judge yourself? You get to choose whether you will contribute to the problem or be part of the solution. Please, choose wisely, because we are all counting on you.
Russell Baxley, MHA, is the President and CEO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital.