President’s Message

Posted on Aug 5, 2020 in President's Message | 0 comments

It’s been roughly six months since we started planning for COVID-19. We had early hints that the storm was going to come, with an early surge of cases in March. Administration and medical staff leaders came together to devise a plan on how we would handle this new threat; establishing a command center, creating surge plans and capacity to care for those affected, securing PPE, bolstering our testing capabilities, and obtaining therapeutics that may have some benefit. We weathered that initial precipitation quite well, perhaps also lucky that a massive surge did not overwhelm us in the way that it did in other states and localities.

Nationwide, we have approximately 4.5 million cases. Over 150,000 Americans have died. California now leads the country with over 493,000 cases. We have suffered over 9000 deaths. ABSMC has identified and cared for over 468 cases since the start of the pandemic, of which 20 have died. Our current census of COVID patients as of July 30 is 44 cases shared amongst the two campuses. There has been a concerning rise in the overall burden of cases in the community, and as a result, hospitalizations, in the last 2 weeks.

Those numbers above become more personal when among them are our own staff. We recently lost two employees to COVID-19. Janine Paiste-Ponder was an RN on PCU 6 and Juan Salgado was a chef in our Summit café. Both were valued members of our Summit family, and they exemplified the qualities of selflessness and caring that make our medical center so great. They will be greatly missed. I am frightened by the prospect that we will undoubtedly lose more staff members to this deadly disease.

Please know that we are doing everything we can to make this medical center safe for patients and employees. It is absolutely critical that we are consistent with messaging to our fellow doctors and nurses in regards to appropriate PPE, both within and outside the hospital. Miscommunication will only further sow mistrust and fear. Studies have shown that wearing a simple surgical mask while the patient is masked can drastically cut down on transmission. We have an opportunity to model to the community in our personal lives as well, wearing a facemask and eye coverings at all times, even while exercising or being outdoors.  We should not attend large in person gatherings, and limit nonessential travel. Only through concerted efforts inside and outside the hospital can we limit the spread of disease.

A note of positivity:

ABSMC Summit was nationally ranked as a high performing program in bypass surgery, heart failure, and COPD by US News and world report!

https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/ca/alta-bates-summit-medical-center-6930031#common-care-ratings

Please take care of yourselves and be safe.

Jeff Chen MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief of Staff, ABSMC Summit Campus

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