October 2021


Shelly Strayhorn “Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has also determined that there is currently insufficient data to recommend Ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19. Clinicaltrials.gov has listings of ongoing clinical trials that might provide more information about these hypothesized uses in the future. My recommendation is good hand hygiene/hand washing, social distancing, wearing masks and getting a vaccination.” Do you have a message you would like to share with the community? Shelly Strayhorn “Continue to go to your doctor for primary care and preventative care. It is safe to come to the hospital. We take precautions, and we will take care of you. Also, it is ok to come to the hospital for emergency care because we see people waiting too long that are having STEMIs (ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction, a very serious heart attack), that are having strokes that we could have taken care of, and the outcomes could have been different if they would have come earlier.” Dr. Loren Robinson “In terms of what we know right now in this moment, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is your best chance at avoiding getting very sick, of avoiding having to go to the hospital, and avoiding ending up on the ventilator. I think that’s the biggest message I would share with people. It’s easy to sit in my office and just look at numbers, but I spent last week in the ICU. And when you’re at the bedside of a family and see a child lose a mother, or last week I saw a six-year-old girl lose her dad. I will never, ever, forget that. It will impact the way I look at this pandemic for the rest of how long we work on this, and I will keep that little girl in my mind and say, ‘What can I do to make sure nobody else experiences that?’” As a woman in leadership, how have you seen the resiliency of those on the front lines who serve with you? Dr. Loren Robinson “I am extremely humbled by the people who get up and come to work at the hospitals every day. At the beginning of this, we hoped it might only last a few months. Or maybe it would be like the flu and just last a season. Now, we’ve been going at this break-neck pace for over a year, and people are still showing up. They’re showing up at CHRISTUS St. Michael and at Wadley; there’s no difference there. We’re all in this together, and we’re saying that we don’t know how this is going to end or when it’s going to end, but we’re going to take whatever steps possible right now, in this moment, in this day, to give every patient the best possible care and a fighting chance at getting over this disease.”

Shelly Strayhorn “I agree with Dr. Robinson. Our employees are the true heroes in the pandemic. They come back every day and have a smile on their face and take care of the patients. They continue to show up and give the best care possible in sometimes very challenging circumstances. I do whatever I can to assist them, to give them a little bit of a break because they are exhausted and growing weary. We’re just very lucky at both facilities, Wadley and CHRISTUS St. Michael, to have such dedicated employees who have seen us through this.” What has most impressed you regarding the hospital staff and community coming together amid the pandemic? Shelly Strayhorn “By far, it is the dedication I have seen in our nursing staff, as well as all staff who continued to come to work, even in the early days of not knowing exactly what we were facing. The nurses who volunteered to work in the COVID units, with all the risks associated with it, stepped up to the plate and honored their oath of taking care of patients in need. When there seemed to be too many dying of this terrible virus, they were holding hands, taking their phone into the room to let their loved ones talk to the patient. It was and is very emotional for our nurses and the staff taking care of these sick patients. I remember the first patient that we had in the COVID unit on a vent and ultimately was able to be discharged. We had staff from every department line the lobby with signs and cheer for this survivor!” Dr. Loren Robinson “The pandemic came at a time when I thought our nation couldn’t get more divided. Whether it was politics or racial strife, there was a lot in this country that really was pulling us in a lot of directions. If you ever took a survey, you’re rarely going to find 100% of Americans agreeing on much. But 100% of Americans would agree that COVID is bad. And so I use that as my starting point. I think that while COVID-19 is terrible, it has also brought out the best in humanity. I’ve seen some of the best in people who we probably had dismissed because they didn’t share the same political views, or they’re not from where we’re from. For me, that has warmed my heart. My family moved to Texarkana right before COVID-19 hit, and we didn’t really know anybody here at all. But the support that we have received from the hospital and this community has shown me that Texarkana is the place where I love raising my family. I felt comfortable having a baby in the middle of the pandemic because I knew I would have excellent medical care and excellent support from the folks I work with. I think it has just shown us the best in both of our hospitals, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

So as we look back from the beginning of this terrible disease with all the unknowns and dark days that ensued, may we learn what we can, forget what we need to and fix our gaze on what is ahead. Because, as Dr. Robinson so beautifully stated, “We’re all in this together,” knowing that the frontline heroes who lead us will continue to show up for us, no matter what may come.


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