SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Staff and leadership at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota are reflecting on Friday what the past year has been like being on the front lines dealing with the pandemic.
”There has been a lot of trying times for all of us,” said Rachel Herc, an ICU nurse at Doctors Hospital. “Some very sad times, some very uplifting times, when they leave it’s like a party.”
“That picture of loved ones sitting outside the glass window or door looking at their family struggling for their lives, that takes a big toll on you emotionally,” said Dr. Michael Schandorf-Lartey, Chief Medical Officer for Doctors Hospital.
The hospital was the first one in the state of Florida to treat a COVID patient, making it very challenging and stressful at that time one year ago.
“We didn’t know much about it, we didn’t know how to deal with it and from that perspective we felt rather inadequate,” said Schandorf-Lartey. “And over time you had to be very quick to keep up with the changing body of evidence and knowledge and how to deal with it.”
Dr. Bob Ross, a former urologist from Venice, was also a COVID patient at Doctors Hospital. He contracted coronavirus in November and he was discharged on Christmas Eve. It’s something he’s still recovering from.
“I was at death’s door and I felt so bad,” said Ross. “I had never seen anybody as sick as I was then and I felt so bad that I thought death was a reasonable option.”
The hospital’s CEO Robert Meade says none of his staff has contracted COVID at work. The crew that talked at Friday’s press conference says they’ve come a long way over the last year with handling the pandemic.
“Over time we’ve learned so much and we’ve been communicated with so well it’s become our norm,” said Jamie Florio, a nurse at Doctors Hospital. “We’re used to it now, we’ve always understood that the patient is the priority.”
Doctors Hospital says the man who was their first COVID patient is doing well.