Healthcare workers at UMC in Lubbock reflect on year of pandemic

Updated: Apr. 11, 2021 at 12:20 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been more than a year since healthcare providers began their fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Frontline workers at University Medical Center Hospital are looking back on a battle they never expected to face.

“Here in Lubbock, we started to see our first COVID case, it was back in March of last year. That was a scary time for all of us here at the hospital,” said, Kristi Valdez, Director of Medical ICU at UMC. “It was an awful virus, and it wasn’t something that we were familiar with.”

Healthcare providers across the globe are considering the lessons learned from a year battling the pandemic.

“Last year, for many months, we took care of these COVID patients. It was definitely a challenging time for everybody - our staff, physicians, doctors, nurses, and even our patients and their families,” said Valdez.

Mike Ragain, Chief Medical Officer at UMC said after hitting peak cases in November, COVID numbers are now dropping. He said recently, the hospital surveyed employees, and the results were shocking.

“We learned that our employees, it was a big toll on our employees,” Ragain said. “If you’re working in an ICU, and you lose two, three, four patients in a shift from COVID, that has an impact. Our caregivers are very much about taking great care of patients, having good outcomes, and some of them have talked about what a challenge it is to feel like you really couldn’t help somebody because of the virus. That’s tough. I really do believe that there’s a lot of burnout among healthcare professionals, not only here but across the country. I think that there’s some post-traumatic stress of dealing with those kind of things.”

Valdez says if she could have given advice to herself a year ago, she would have said “that we have a great team here, and that we’re just going to be able to get through it together.”

Valdez and Ragain both said they’re thankful for the love and support from the community.

“Really just proud of that spirit of let’s get it done let’s roll up our sleeves and make it happen and that really came through in shining colors really,” Ragain said.

Ragain encourages everyone to stay vigilant and continue to wash your hands, wear your masks and practice social distancing.

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