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COVID-19 Update

Extraordinary People. Extraordinary Moments.

 
 

“I feel I need to be here for my staff, our providers and our patients.” — Teira Torbit

Teira Torbit is a practice administrator for Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Howard County. She leads a team of 15 people who work together to keep the family medicine practice running.

These days, that involves screening patients for COVID-19. “We have plenty of protective equipment,” she says. “It’s helpful to have the support I need to do my job.”

Teira has also worked to get the practice’s telemedicine program up to speed on short notice. “One minute we were doing our regular job, and the next, we switched to telemedicine. We had to ramp up pretty fast.”

“I love caring for patients, and I love my staff,” the Baltimore native says. “I make sure staff and providers understand how much we appreciate everything they’re doing.”

Posted June 10, 2020

 

“My colleagues and I are ready to do what it takes to help our patients and society.” — Nisar Yaseen

A family medicine specialist with a clinical interest in chronic pain, Nisar Yaseen has worked at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) since 2017. He also serves as a senior trainer within the JHAH family medicine residency program.

Yaseen says COVID-19 has had a “huge impact” on his job due to the sudden change from seeing patients in regular clinics to using telemedicine and unfamiliar work environments to manage primary and urgent care.

“The best thing about work right now is the pleasure of collaborating with various clinical and nonclinical colleagues in an amazing, versatile and resilient multidisciplinary team,” he says.

“Not really knowing how this situation will pan out in the short term is challenging, but it is offset by knowing that whatever happens, my colleagues and I are ready to do what it takes to help our patients and society.”

Posted June 8, 2020

“The best part about my redeployment has been getting to know the dietary staff and seeing patients in a different way.” — Rob Grader

Normally, Howard County General Hospital physical therapist assistant Rob Grader spends his days guiding patients through rehabilitation post-joint replacement or for a medical condition. But since the pandemic began, demand for PT services has waned, so he was redeployed to help out in food services. Now, every work day, from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Grader gowns up and delivers meals to patients throughout the hospital.

“It’s been an adjustment,” says Grader, “but I imagine these patients are bored and isolated, and I appreciate the brief opportunity to interact with them.” (He’s not permitted to enter COVID-19 unit rooms.) As he sets the meal down on the table, he might ask patients what they’re reading “just to have a momentary interaction — what I enjoy about my other job, too.”

Grader has new respect for the dietary team — “a pretty great bunch of people, working nonstop.” Pandemic or not, he points out, everyone needs to eat. “Obviously, I’m eager to get back to the work I’m trained for and enjoy,” says Grader, “but this is an all-hands-on-deck situation, and I’m happy to do something helpful.”

Posted June 3, 2020

 

“Although we are a small piece of what goes on in the hospital, we are a very important piece.” — Annette Jenkins

Annette Jenkins, a 31-year employee of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, is a supply chain supervisor who is “extremely proud to be on the front line” of the response to COVID-19. Here she’s selecting personal protective equipment (gloves) for a nurse. Because of the pandemic, she now receives large deliveries of COVID-19 related items that ensure physicians have everything they may require.

Married to Willie Jenkins, recently retired All Children’s food service cook, Jenkins reminds her staff members “to perform their duties as if it were their child or grandchild being cared for. Although we are a small piece of what goes on in the hospital, we are a very important piece.”

Posted June 1, 2020

 

“It’s up to us to make sure those rooms are absolutely free of that virus.” — Roark Nixon

As environmental services manager at Howard County General Hospital, Roark Nixon leads a team responsible for cleaning and disinfecting rooms after patients are moved or discharged. Since March, that has included eliminating any new coronavirus present in hospital rooms.

"When a patient leaves, we bring in an ultraviolet light that kills the virus,” he says. "Then we scrub the whole thing down from top to bottom with a bleach-based disinfectant. And after that, we bring the light back in and clean the room again."

The work requires training and concentration. Nixon says the environmental services staff is “holding up pretty well during all this. They’ve really adapted to new workflows and protocols.”

In this photograph, Nixon is readying disinfectant canisters for distribution throughout the hospital. “Each one holds a disinfectant used for a different purpose,” he explains. “The orange one is the one with the bleach in it.”

Posted May 28, 2020

“I hope that the food I prepare can bring some sort of comfort." — Miriam Zepeda

A cook in Howard County General Hospital’s Food and Nutrition Services for 12 years, Miriam Zepeda says that while she takes “great pleasure” in her work, the pandemic has brought a few extra challenges.

“The temperatures in the kitchen are already hot, and the face mask makes it difficult to breathe. There is also an influx of patients, and I try my best to make sure food is prepared in a timely manner.

“Even though we may not be working on the front lines with patients, we are still working very hard to provide the best service,” says the resident of Columbia, Maryland. “I hope that the food I prepare can bring some sort of comfort to someone who may not be feeling their best.”

Posted May 26, 2020

 

“It’s gratifying to be able to care for people, especially during these nerve-racking times.” — Daliah Halboni

Daliah Halboni says she always wanted to be a nurse. For the last two years, the critical care specialist has answered that calling at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians in Howard County. During the pandemic, she says it is especially important to find the best way to serve each patient. While many will use the office’s telemedicine option, others need to go to the office for services ranging from electrocardiograms to ear exams. Halboni also uses her clinical knowledge to recommend when callers should go to the emergency department. So far, at least one patient has thanked Halboni for saving her life.

Halboni screens patients and helps ensure the examination rooms are clean, disinfected and stocked with gowns and other supplies. “It’s gratifying to be able to care for people, especially during these nerve-racking times,” she says. “It means so much to hear the voices of patients on the phone saying they’re glad we're open.”

Posted May 21, 2020

 

“I am proud to be a nurse leader.” — Chrystal Brown

At Sibley Memorial Hospital and other Johns Hopkins hospitals, care providers are finding new ways to treat patients. Chrystal Brown, primary care practice manager, has been working at Sibley’s drive-through testing area.

“I am proud to be a nurse leader,” says Chrystal Brown, primary care practice manager. “I work for such a wonderful organization and with people who want to do their part by performing COVID-19 testing. Prior to this assignment, I was managing the offices of primary care and specialty services. Now, I split my time between the testing tent and primary care. Presently, roughly 90% of our appointments are video visits.”

Posted May 18, 2020

“Wearing my ‘Happy Birthday’ crown that day seemed to give everyone a lift.” — Dawn Silver

Dawn Silver, a food services hostess at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, knew people would notice when she arrived at work wearing a crown. “It was my birthday, and I had to work,” she says, “so why not wear a crown? Wearing my happy birthday crown that day seemed to give everyone a lift.

Pandemic precautions prohibit food services staff members from working on COVID-19 units. The 16-year dietary services veteran says she misses the camaraderie that delivering trays to patients brings. “But we have to be extra careful now, washing our hands constantly and making sure we don’t have symptoms,” says Silver. “I want people to know that food services workers have an important role working on the front lines of this pandemic."

Posted May 15, 2020

“We’re making sure patients get the care they need and deserve — whatever it takes.” — Lynne Lightfoote

Sibley Memorial Hospital obstetrician and gynecologist Lynne Lightfoote has found that COVID-19 makes it challenging to maintain the compassionate relationships she usually has with her obstetrical patients. Although protective, the masks and additional personal protective equipment pose a barrier to the nonverbal communication that typically engenders trust. However, Lightfoote, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, says the pandemic has increased camaraderie among physicians and nurses as they strive to support each other. “We all work better together,” she says. “Our team of doctors and nurses are making sure patients get the care they need and deserve — whatever it takes.”

Posted May 14, 2020

 
 
 
 

Honoring All Our Health Care Professionals This Week

On May 10, many health care organizations across the country began observing National Hospital Week. We want to ensure that all our health care professionals are recognized for their contributions, so today, join us in celebrating Health Care Week at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Please take a moment to visit the JHM Appreciation Board, where you can read inspiring stories about your colleagues and post your own reflections of gratitude.

Posted May 11, 2020

Community Appreciation Parade for Healthcare Heroes

The Community Appreciation Parade for #HopkinsHeroes on May 7 was a gigantic boost of energy — more than 40 cars long — for all our front-line staff members. Our #HealthcareHeroes have been working tirelessly, with amazing strength, compassion and expertise, to treat all our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toots, woo-woos, way-to-go’s, love and heartfelt thanks give us some of the fuel we need to keep going. Thank you!

Posted May 8, 2020

Nurses: Leading in the Midst of Crisis

Cynda Rushton is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Berman Institute of Bioethics and an international leader in nursing ethics. On Global Promise, Johns Hopkins Medicine International’s blog, she discusses the conditions and decisions nurses encounter every day while wrestling with the massive health care challenges posed by the new coronavirus.

Go to the Global Promise blog.

Posted May 8, 2020

 

It’s Nurses Week: Thank You to All Our Nurses!

When it comes to patient care, our nurses have the strength to do the incredible. During Nurses Week, join us in recognizing our nursing colleagues across Johns Hopkins Medicine for the vital role they play every day.

Posted May 6, 2020

 
Johns Hopkins staff answering phone calls in Dermatology DepartmentClick to enlarge. Image courtesy: Marijoy Velasco, Apr. 22, 2020

Behind the Scenes at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center Dermatology Department

Certified medical assistants for the Department of Dermatology at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center are in constant communication with colleagues to share ideas for providing the best patient care and service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted May 4, 2020

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels in Baltimore Flyover Salute to Healthcare HeroesClick to enlarge. Image courtesy: Loraine Imwold.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels in Baltimore Flyover Salute to Healthcare Heroes

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels honored our Healthcare Heroes today with an #AmericaStrong flyover in Baltimore to thank front-line staff members for responding in unprecedented ways to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are so proud of all our #HopkinsHeroes for their compassion, courage and commitment to our patients — and to each other! Watch the flyover video here.

See more #HealthcareHeroesDay images on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Posted May 2, 2020

 
Blue Skies for Flyover Salute to Healthcare HeroesClick to enlarge. Image courtesy: Will Kirk

Blue Skies for Flyover Salute to Healthcare Heroes

Blue skies on a sunny day in Baltimore for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels as they honored #HealthcareHeroes with an #AmericaStrong flyover salute formation featuring six F-18 Hornet and six F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrafts. So proud of all our #HopkinsHeroes!

See more #HealthcareHeroesDay images on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Posted May 2, 2020

collage of people looking at the flyoverVisit the Johns Hopkins Medicine Facebook page for more images. Images courtesy: Will Kirk

Cheers and Awe for Flyover Salute to Healthcare Heroes

Johns Hopkins healthcare workers and their families were out in force to wave, cheer and salute the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels during their #AmericaStrong flyover of hospitals honoring #HealthcareHeroes fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

A formation of six F-16 Fighting Falcon and six F-18 Hornet aircrafts buzzed by Baltimore to say “thank you” for the compassion, courage and commitment of all front-line staff and first responders.

See more #HealthcareHeroesDay images on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Posted May 2, 2020

 

Maryland Healthcare Heroes Day: We Stand With You

Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed May 2, 2020, as Heathcare Heroes Day in Maryland.

At Johns Hopkins Medicine, we stand with all of our healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, first responders and essential workers that have helped save lives and keep our state safe.

See more #HealthcareHeroesDay images on Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Posted May 2, 2020

“I chose medicine to have a positive impact and to help where needed.” — Monty Oppenheim

Monty Oppenheim, chief of obstetric anesthesiology at Sibley Memorial Hospital, where he’s practiced for 23 years, takes a rare moment on a busy day to enjoy the spring sun.

With operating rooms empty and elective surgeries postponed, Oppenheim has been reassigned. The father of four is now training as an intensivist to work on the front line of the new coronavirus pandemic. He will intubate patients with COVID-19, risking infection with every procedure.

He says, “This is my job. My colleagues and I chose medicine to have a positive impact and to help where needed. None of us expected this. COVID-19 is new to the medical world. We're still learning, striving to help our community survive this pandemic.”

Posted May 1, 2020

JH staff taping floors to mark 6 feetClick to enlarge. Image courtesy: Sophie Lanzkron, Image taken: Apr. 11, 2020

Marking 6-Feet-Apart Areas for Safe Physical Distancing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Sophie Lanzkron, M.D., director of the Sickle Cell Center for Adults at The Johns Hopkins Hospital snapped this photo, writing, “I have an incredible team of nurses, patient service coordinators and advanced practice providers who are taking care of our at-risk adults with sickle cell disease.

“They do everything from taking care of our patients, many of whom felt isolated before the pandemic, to taping off the floors to mark 6 feet distances to keep everyone safe. They have stepped up in every way, and I am really proud to be a part of their team!”

Posted Apr. 30, 2020

 
Community physicians practice social distancing in clinicClick to enlarge. Image taken: Apr. 8, 2020

Johns Hopkins Community Physicians’ Offices in Action

Nurse Daliah Halboni (standing) and certified medical assistants Melody Kearny (center) and Jenna Seiss (right) help patients get the care they need during the coronavirus pandemic. At Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, care teams practice physical distancing and wear proper personal protective equipment, such as masks, to ensure the safety of both patients and staff members.

Posted Apr. 28, 2020

“We’re the hidden heroes.” — Marian Akiwumi

The most rewarding part of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Marian Akiwumi, medical lab scientist in microbiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital , is the teamwork. “We’ve grown better and more efficient,” says Akiwumi, a resident of Laurel who has worked at the hospital for three years. “As the microbiology department, we’re all doing our part by validating and running tests, producing COVID-19 results at great turnaround times. This is something that will go down in the history books.”

Akiwumi praises the work of everyone on the laboratory team. “We’re the hidden heroes,” she says. “We’re the ones that test everything so doctors and nurses know what’s happening with the patient. Without us, nothing is proved.”

Posted Apr. 25, 2020

Emergency staff members stand while wearing protective equipmentClick to enlarge. Image courtesy: Danielle Hirsch, Apr. 15, 2020

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Ready to Help

Emergency center staff members at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital wear protective equipment for the safety of patients and themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Posted Apr. 24, 2020

“I help bring patients some peace.” — Aaron Mahomes

It’s a scary time to be a patient — and a scary time to be a health care worker, says Aaron Mahomes, a phlebotomist in the pathology core lab at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. “It’s a different interaction with the patient than it was three months ago,” says Mahomes, who draws blood for analysis from 30 to 40 patients per shift.

In normal times, drawing blood can produce anxiety for many patients. That apprehension is even higher now. “There’s a lot of fear that COVID-19 has produced, and part of my job now is calming those fears, reassuring the patients and letting them know they are in the right place to get the treatment they need,” says the Baltimore resident who has worked at the hospital for 11 months. “I help bring patients some peace.”


Posted Apr. 23, 2020

Amy Penney sits at a desk, wearing a mask.Click to enlarge. Image courtesy: Raf Llinas, Image taken Apr. 12, 2020

A Resident Dons Equipment at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Raf Llinas, M.D., director of neurology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, helps School of Medicine resident Garret Conyers put on a powered air-purifying respirator as part of his personal protective equipment.

Posted Apr. 22, 2020

"There is a whole group of people behind the scenes working to support our front-line staff and patients.” — Marge Rodgers

Managing a crisis is part of the job for Marge Rodgers, administrator for orthopaedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. One of the challenges with COVID-19, says Rodgers, a member of the hospital’s rotating administrator-on-call team, is making sure to not neglect routine work.

“Right now, the hospital has many other patients,” says Rodgers, a resident of Baltimore’s North Roland Park neighborhood and a 17-year veteran at Johns Hopkins Bayview. “Last week we had 29 traumas because, for whatever reasons, people still wind up getting hurt.”

Posted Apr. 20, 2020

"I feel blessed to be part of a group that supports one another."
— Amy Penney

You can tell Amy Penney is smiling behind her mask. The charge nurse in the Progressive Care Unit at Suburban Hospital says that, during the COVID-19 crisis, her team is showing even more positive energy than usual. “Nurses are always striving to adapt and go with the challenges that come our way,” the Silver Spring, Maryland, resident observes. “Now that we’re seeing new variants of change — like policies and procedures — everyone's been gracious and willing to go with the flow, just like always. I feel blessed to be part of a group that supports one another.”

Posted Apr. 17, 2020

"I’m proud to provide essential care at home for our most vulnerable patients."
— Amy Kilen

Amy Kilen, a nurse practitioner with Johns Hopkins Home-Based Medicine, wears personal protective equipment (PPE), including a face mask and shield, gown and gloves, for her only in-person visit of the day. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she visited several elderly, chronically ill patients in their homes each workday.

Now, because of the risk of infection, she “televisits” whenever possible. The Southeast Baltimore resident says she was reluctant at first to check up on patients remotely, but now looks forward to some aspects of these video visits. “Seeing your older patients on FaceTime is a neat intergenerational connection,” she says.

Read more about her story here.

Posted Apr. 15, 2020

“Keeping people safe is my passion.”
— Dominick Metzger

Public safety is the calling for Dominick Metzger, a security officer at Suburban Hospital. “This is a very challenging time, but keeping people safe is my passion,” says the North Potomac resident and former U.S. Army military police officer. Metzger recalls that the morning this photo was taken, on April 3, was the same morning that Johns Hopkins Medicine instituted its universal masking protocol. “Many people coming to work hadn’t yet read the memo, or heard the news, so seeing us all wearing masks first thing as they came through the doors was a bit of a shock. Now it’s become routine.”

Posted Apr. 15, 2020

“There are constant challenges, and we have to think creatively.”
— Tina Hoang

In the Command Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Tina Hoang looks up from her review of personal protective equipment protocols and explains her role.

Hoang, 33, has worked at Sibley for the past five years as an infection preventionist in the Department of Patient Safety and Quality. Her job — promoting strategies such as making sure clinicians wash their hands and get the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) training — kicked into high gear with the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“As we get surges of patients, we have to think creatively about where to place them and how to protect patients and staff,” she says. “I haven’t seen my office in quite some time. I’ve been living at the Command Center.”

Posted Apr. 15, 2020

Johns Hopkins Oncology Center OR

The Johns Hopkins Hospital team shares a message with the community.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Howard County General Hospital Pediatrics

Pediatric staff members at Howard County General Hospital wear protective equipment.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital staff members prepare for COVID-19 testing.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Test

Johns Hopkins microbiologists developed an in-house coronavirus test.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

A Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital security guard wears a kid-friendly mask.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

COVID-19 Testing

Johns Hopkins staff members outside a COVID-19 testing area.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center staff members share a message with kids.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

Letters from the Community

Cards of support from the community lift the spirits of our staff.

Posted Apr. 6, 2020

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