REMEMBRANCES

Abrazo West employees honor those touched by COVID-19

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Hospital employees and physicians at Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear held a ceremony March 19 to honor the caregivers, patients and families who have battled COVID-19 over the past year.

Abrazo West staff, physicians and leaders gathered outside hospital, 13677 W. McDowell Road, and took turns speaking about their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic in often emotional voices.

“Thanks to the skill and commitment of our providers and staff, thousands of hospital patients have had a fighting chance of surviving this disease. While we recognize milestones, we also reflect on the fact that there are many families across Arizona who have lost loved ones or continue to battle this disease,” Abrazo West Chief Executive Officer Christina Oh said.

READ: Abrazo West marks more than 1,000 COVID patient discharges

She credited ICU Director Jerry Lawlor with speaking up to create the opportunity for caregivers to share experiences and feelings about the anxiety, stress and ultimately satisfaction of providing comfort and care to patients, families and coworkers.

A veteran of tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Lawlor noted that his military training prepared him for the battlefield, but seeing COVID-19’s effects on patients, families, loved ones and coworkers took its toll on those on the front lines of health care.

“All my times in the military as a combat corpsman, I have not seen the things our nurses have seen at this hospital,” he said. “I’m proud to be part of this team.”

“This has been such a difficult season for all of us. We could have never anticipated a time in our history like this,” added hospital Chaplain Tom Blackman.

“It is important to honor those who have weathered the COVID journey and been by the bedside of patients who have recovered and those who haven’t. Their determination and sacrifices for putting patients and families first make us proud of each and every one of our caregivers,” Ms. Oh said.

She noted that while progress has been made, the fight goes on.

“We appreciate everyone’s continued support and patience as we navigated the various changes in caring for our community over the past year. Our patients have been well cared for. All of you have played a critical role not only in fighting this disease, but also being ‘family’ for our patients,” Ms. Oh said. “That phrase of being someone’s family has really stuck with me throughout the entire COVID journey. There are a lot of ways to think of family, but we are all family now because we’ve shared this experience together.

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