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As Snowstorm Nemo struck the Northeast last week and weekend, BWHers banded together, not missing a beat despite the nearly 25 inches of snow deposited on the city.
Throughout the weekend, BWH employees ensured the hospital's smooth functioning, amid gusting winds, transportation challenges and power outages at home.
"I had an opportunity over the stormy weekend to observe the phenomenal spirit of care and cooperation that truly exemplifies the Brigham Way," said BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD. "I saw how each unit and department was dedicated to caring for our patients, their families and one another. Thank you for carrying on our mission during the storm with grit, grace and humor."
Before and during the storm, hospital leadership and emergency preparedness teams worked around the clock to organize and communicate BWH's response. Physicians, nurses, Patient Care Services and admitting staff provided exceptional care and service. Managers and administrators kept staff informed of all developments and arranged accommodations and staffing. BWH Security and Parking managed transportation and parking logistics, and helped guarantee everyone's safety.
Researchers ensured all emergency needs were taken care of in the labs, and Materials Management and Engineering made certain the entire hospital was well-stocked and all utilities were up and running. Support Services performed snow removal and cheerfully transported patients and car-pooled staff to the hospital. Food Services staff served up complimentary meals and did everything they could to ensure everyone was fed.
Many BWHers who were not scheduled to work volunteered their time, staying for hours to serve meals, answer phones and transport patients. Others came in early, stayed overnight and covered for colleagues.
Just a few examples of the unparalleled service BWHers provided:
Nurse Margaret Costello, PhD, RN, expressed great pride in the team on Tower 15CD, who braved the stormy conditions and traveled many miles to make it to work throughout the weekend.
"Our nurses came in early on Friday, picked each other up at their homes, covered shifts for one another, and some even spent Friday night in a hotel in order to make their Saturday morning shifts," Costello said. "They worked tirelessly and without complaint."
Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine clinical fellow Sujatha Pentakota, MD, shared the efforts of Hugh Flanagan, Jr., MD, director of the PACU, who drove residents and staff home at the end of their shifts on Friday. By 8 p.m., he had made four trips in the windy, snowy weather. He waited until 10:30 p.m. to drive Pentakota home as well.
"When I joined the Brigham, I wished for a good workplace," said Pentakota. "But since then, thanks to people like Dr. Flanagan, the Brigham has proven to be a home. I am very grateful to have experienced one of many great acts of care and kindness here at the Brigham."
Senior research assistant Silvia Sumale, who supervises a research processing area for the Center for Clinical Investigation on Tower 9, shared the story of Michelle Ngeouyang-a Northeastern University student who is working at BWH for the spring semester as part of the school's co-op program.
"Michelle lives in Randolph and was supposed to work overnight on Friday, beginning at 11 p.m., " said Sumale. "In order for this 20-year-old student to be here on time for her shift, she asked her father to drop her off at the hospital at 11 a.m. on Friday." After working for 16 hours and sleeping on a stretcher on Tower 9A, Ngeouyang then worked 12-hour overnight shifts on Saturday and Sunday, to help cover for a full-time employee who could not make it in.
"For Michelle, this is her first job in the medical field," said Sumale. "I was so impressed by her dedication and understanding of working in an institution like ours. She was very concerned about the need to be here and help out as much as she could."
Many more employees contributed to a smoothly operating hospital in other large and small ways too numerous to mention, but each deserves a special thank you for making BWH's goal of exemplary, compassionate patient care possible. Read more stories and view BWHers' snapshots from the blizzard, and submit your own in the comments section below.