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Opinion
Sarasota Saturday, Mar. 14, 2020 2 months ago

Letter to the editor: Doctors Hospital releases first COVID-19 patient

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The Sarasota hospital has discharged the first Florida patient with COVID-19 and has cleared all involved physicians and employees to return to work.
by: Guest Writer

By Robert Meade, CEO, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

Doctors Hospital is proud to have treated and discharged to home the first hospitalized patient in the state of Florida diagnosed with COVID-19. We are equally proud to announce that as of today, every physician and employee involved has been cleared to return to work. 

Every decision we made during the patient’s care was for the health and safety of the patient, our current patients, our employees

Dr. Robert Meade is CEO of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.

Doctors Hospital resumed normal operations last week and continues to treat and admit patients, including those with respiratory conditions, which are very common this time of year. As extra precautions, we have enhanced health and safety measures to include screening visitors and patients for risk factors at entrances. Doctors Hospital has a long-standing reputation for our clean and serene environment and that continues today.

After the patient was admitted to our hospital in late February, the CDC changed its guidance regarding COVID-19. As soon as it was determined the patient was a potential COVID-19 case based on the updated guidance from the CDC, we immediately activated protocols for handling COVID-19 cases, including immediate isolation of the patient.

In an abundance of caution, we briefly suspended admissions to the hospital and postponed elective procedures for three days.  Working closely with the CDC and health department, we notified individuals who may have been in contact with the patient, and furloughed certain employees for 14 days. Those employees had full pay for scheduled shifts.

We immediately communicated to patients who were in the hospital that a patient was presumptively positive for COVID-19 and had been isolated with all CDC precautions in place. To address questions and concerns, our nursing directors and senior leadership team personally visited each patient and provided them information. We also distributed an internal communication to our colleagues and patients that was almost immediately shared on social media. This information was designed for internal use only, as the state Department of Health and the CDC are the lead agencies in sharing public information with the community. Because of this protocol, we did not make any public statements, but again we communicated directly and personally with our patients, employees, and our medical staff.

I recently received an email from the patient who we treated for COVID-19. The patient wrote, “Thank you and your amazing staff for saving my life.”  Because of our dedicated team and the strict protocols for health and safety we follow, we were able to quickly isolate and test this patient, treat the patient, and protect our employees and other patients. This has been a rapidly evolving situation, and with each new development, we have adapted and responded. Thank you for your continued trust in the care we provide our community.   

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