Hospital board discusses 3-year review of SMH response to COVID-19 pandemic

Hospital board talks about SMH COVID response review.
Hospital board talks about SMH COVID response review.(WWSB)
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A full auditorium at Sarasota Memorial Hospital filled with more than 300 people listening to the hospital board. They were discussing a report that was just released taking a look at a 3-year review of SMH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those in attendance included doctors, hospital staff and residents.

“We wanted to look at what did the hospital do right, what did we do wrong, what did we learn from this experience,” said Tramm Hudson, Chairman of the hospital board. “How can we do better next time when surely a pandemic will affect us.”

The more than 80 page review goes in depth on how the pandemic was handled at SMH. That includes a better mortality rate than the national average and also the enormous toll the pandemic had on the hospital budget. One Sarasota woman says the hospital did well handling COVID under extraordinary circumstances.

“To question the integrity and intent of the staff and the general treatment of COVID patients, I think is ill-founded,” said Christine Schlesinger.

More than 50 people addressing the board, many of them pleased with the hospital’s response, while others with concerns. Criticisms include SMH’s visitation restrictions for families during the height of COVID. Also, some say they were not given the freedom to choose when it came to the vaccine and they say they didn’t have options for other treatments.

“My son’s wishes and our wishes were not made, we had a prescription of ivermectin that was very hard to fill,” said one woman. “We finally got it filled, we brought it in and they refused to give it to him.”

This report was compiled by the hospital board’s Quality Committee which includes doctors, clinical leaders and board members. In the end, the board voting 7 to 2, accepting the report and recommendations. One of those recommendations is forming a task force to handle all types of crisis.

“They should take assurance that Sarasota Memorial Hospital is here to serve them,” said Hudson.

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