Date: March 2, 2010
Historic back-to-back storms brought out the best from employees throughout Hopkins Medicine. Many of them had interesting tales to tell and people to thank. Here are those stories in their own words.
Derek Papp, orthopedic resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital, writes:
Dr. Michael Ain had a patient who had been planning to have spine surgery on the Wednesday of the blizzard. Her family had changed their work schedules and gone to a couple of preoperative exams in order to have it done, etc. When news of the blizzard struck, it sounded as though everything would have to be cancelled, but Dr. Ain had the patient admitted the night before and said he would get all of the members of the operating room staff if needed to make sure the surgery could be performed as scheduled. News of the blizzard outside kept coming in from staff in the halls...phase 3, all that stuff, but we were able to do the procedure. I'm from Colorado, so I didn't mind driving back and forth (I had been doing so since that Friday night...Saturday a.m....then at midnight to put a spica cast on, etc.). Things were so bad I actually built a scoop out of casting supplies and kept half a bag of street salt in my car in case I got stuck. It was amazing. I think the patient and her family were happy it could be done--and Dr. Ain was happy to help out.
Jo-Ann C. Benedict-Pendorf, Howard County General Hospital nurse on 4 South, writes:
I was one of the RNs who slept in the rehab area on Saturday during the first blizzard. I worked Friday night and Saturday night. I went to the rehab area only to find one lonely cot, and this cot had no sheets or pillow case, and there were none to be found. I found some scrub tops and laid down one of those to sleep on, one for the pillow case and one over me. As I was drifting in and out of a hazy type of sleep, not having every slept "army" style, some kind and gentle soul covered me with a real sheet. It kept me warm and I was able to cover my head and keep out the overhead lights. I finally really slept under that sheet. I met a lady on the elevator one day, and we were sharing stories like this and I told her about a dear person who did this for me. She said she knew—because it was she. Her name is Nicole. She works in housekeeping. I am not sure of her last name. She is a very motherly lady, and we hugged in the elevator and it brought tears to my eyes to actually meet that angel who took care of me. I know a lot of us did our jobs and took care of our patients, but Nicole is someone who took care of me and made me better able to take care of my patients on Saturday night. She is my unsung hero. Thanks to Nicole, from the bottom of my heart.
Roshni Thakore, emergency medicine intern at Hopkins Bayview, writes:
I was stuck at Bayview during the last blizzard for my Burn ICU rotation. On my third night in the hospital in a row, I was on call, and I admitted a patient with a history of schizophrenia who got frostbite by hiding out in a shed for six days during the worst of the blizzard. It was my first ICU overnight call by myself (with fellow support of course); there was no access to the unit because the ID office was closed the entire week; and suddenly I had one patient with bilateral pulseless feet in the ED and another patient in the unit who was unstable. Being on call after "sleeping" two nights at the hospital made call even more tiring than usual.
Meredith Birsner, second-year ob/gyn resident, writes:
We had some craziness on Labor & Delivery surrounding the storm. Howard County General’s NICU closed, and they shipped their antepartum (still pregnant) complicated patients to us. All of our nurses slept here, bunking five nurses to a room. . .residents and attendings stayed in-house for like three days. . .our Wednesday through Thursday (2/11-2/12) were ridiculous, and we had a massive postpartum hemorrhage requiring multidisciplinary team work between anesthesia, NICU, SICU, and interventional radiology. The patient survived and did very, very well. The teamwork here on L&D was incredible.
R. Samuel Mayer, physical medicine and rehabilitation’s vice chair for education, writes:
Many people in my department outdid themselves during the blizzards, but Sue Verillo, our nurse manager on rehab (Halsted 3), spent five of seven days at Johns Hopkins Hospital during the two storms, only to leave the next day for a 2-week relief mission in Haiti aboard the U.S.S. Comfort.
• First year oncology fellow Chris Hourigan awoke at 5 a.m. to pick up his colleagues and get them all to the Cancer Center safely. • Patricia Ryan, assistant nurse manager in the MICU, braved harsh conditions and low visibility to drive to pickup points for other staff members. • Melissa Dattalo recognizes the staff of the Department of Medicine at Bayview, who slept at the hospital for two nights to ensure they would be present for their shifts. • Kitty Violette, nurse manager of Oncology Outpatient Services at the hospital, recognizes Maureen Berg, who volunteered to be snowed in by taking over a Saturday shift for another nurse with two young children. She stayed at the hospital for several days. • Sean Heffernan, an intern in Psychiatry, slept at the hospital for five nights to ensure that his patients were cared for. • Jason Mock, senior assistant resident in Medicine, braved the elements as he walked from Canton to the hospital for his shift. •Cheryl Koch recognizes the cooks and entire food services team at Hopkins Bayview, many of whom stayed for four nights; and the facilities team, who worked all night and day for a week to help clear 130 acres; and the security team, who picked up staff.
—Compiled by Judy Minkove and Faith Erline