ELIZABETH, NJ - Trinitas Regional Medical Center announced that it has successfully discharged its 500th patient since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late February.
During this unprecedented event in the hospital’s history, Trinitas has evolved to meet the ongoing needs of patients and staff as the crisis unfolds. Innovation is the name of the game right now, according to hospital officials. Change and forward-thinking has been necessary in many instances. For example, the oxygen delivery system was replaced to accommodate the increase in the use of ventilators.
“It’s a scary time, but saving lives is our business,” said Gary S. Horan, President & CEO of Trinitas. “We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated, well-rounded, and fearless staff who are not focusing on the negatives. It’s not easy to do at the moment, of course, but because we are mindful of how important it is to remain positive, we are grateful for the ways this situation has forced us to rise to the occasion.”
Other maneuvers to accommodate the unusual activity have included revamping the Same Day Surgery unit to function as an extra ICU unit, as well as a floor of administrative offices in the main hospital being renovated to create an extra floor for patients.
“Through all of this, our staff has been fantastic,” Horan said. “The word hero has been quite overused recently, but there is no better word to describe the staff members who leave their families at home and come to Trinitas to care for the sick. They are true to their calling and to the mission of Trinitas.”
Horan noted that two Trinitas doctors produced a simple Plexiglas box designed to protect patients and staff during certain procedures and minimize exposure. When the Chairman of Trinitas Anesthesiology, Dr. Leon Pirak, saw a picture sent to him by a colleague from Thailand, he knew it could be a potent weapon in the fight against COVID-19. The trouble was, there were none available outside of Thailand. He consulted with a colleague at Trinitas, Dr. Pedro Cordero, and thanks to a connection to a plastics fabricating company in Union, Thermo Plastic Tech Inc., the Medical Center took delivery of the first prototype intubation box this week. It has already been pressed into use several times.
“Every day gives us another chance to make a difference and to really show the community what we’ve got,” Horan said. “We are working around the clock and we are truly present for our patients. We’re determined to see this thing through.”
Recently, Mayor Christian Bollwage, the Elizabeth Fire Department, the Elizabeth Police Department and the City of Elizabeth initiated a parade to honor the frontline clinicians at Trinitas.
“The outpouring of support from the community has been astounding,” Horan added, “from the gifts of food, thank-you notes, gifts, and supplies to the acknowledgment on social media and recently at the mini-parade organized by the Elizabeth Fire Department. We couldn’t be more grateful and aware of the fact that we are truly all in this together.”