July was feeling like a turning point in our efforts to ramp up our services to pre-COVID levels. We were – and continue to be – on a very positive trajectory. The coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future; however, face coverings and social distancing are effective, and rapid turnaround testing is coming soon to DH. That said, now is not the time to ease up on precautions that help protect our patients and us. As we adjust to the realities of life with COVID and improve our efficiencies, we are gradually experiencing rising inpatient and outpatient volumes.
And just when we were enjoying the optimistic outlook for Doylestown Health, on the morning of August 4 an EF2 tornado ripped through the hospital campus and community. Cars were tossed like toys, windows were shattered, and roofs were damaged. The worst of it rapidly became obvious: Children’s Village sustained significant damage. It could have been much, much worse. As it turned out, there were only minor injuries. And in true Doylestown Health tradition, we rebounded in a few short days.
There are many stories of the selfless, charitable and compassionate response to this terrible weather event by our staff and community first responders. The rescue of the children is among the most compelling. Children’s Village staff were heroic in their actions to gather and protect the children as the storm hit. Meanwhile, first responders from throughout the community were arriving on the campus to assist. Staff, parents and emergency personnel first carried the children to the safety of the Penn Radiation Oncology vaults and then on to waiting school buses where they sheltered at Lenape Middle School. I was there when the children were reunited with their families.
While the Children’s Village was being evacuated, another simultaneous rescue operation was underway in the Cancer Institute as staff escorted patients down three flights of stairs. At every turn, staff volunteered to assist. Some helped reunite outpatients and visitors; others gathered wheelchairs to move outpatients to safety as water and wind pummeled The Pavilion. There was damage at the ED and Main Lobby. The young woman in a van that nearly landed on its roof climbed out of a window. Trees were shattered. Somehow, the tornado – with winds estimated at 115 mph – bypassed the majority of the main hospital and the Cardiovascular and Critical Care Pavilion, Lakeview and Pine Run.
Amazingly, most of the physician offices in The Pavilion were up and running within two days of the tornado. The outpatient infusion center of the Cancer Institute was set up in temporary facilities in Conference Room J the same day. Only the MRI in the Pavilion remained sidelined for a few extra days due to equipment damage on the roof. Despite the extensive damage around the hospital campus, there was no interruption to hospital services. And within a week, Children’s Village reopened at a new site, complete with furniture, playground and even a water park at a facility that had recently closed.
Building repairs and landscape clean-up continues. Our Plant Operations staff has been performing yeoman’s work in putting the campus back together. In a presentation at the August 18 Doylestown Township Supervisors meeting, the entire staff of Doylestown Hospital was formally recognized for their dedication to public safety and the residents of Bucks County for “coordinated efforts working with outside agencies and resources” in dealing with the emergency.
As if COVID-19 were not enough to distinguish Doylestown Health’s superior excellence and dedication, the weather event was another test of our organization’s excellence. We earn national recognition for the quality of health care we deliver; however, it is the appreciation and loyalty of the community that makes it all worthwhile. As if to prove this last point, the community responded to the emergency with donations of funds and a flood of books, supplies and materials to rebuild Children’s Village.
We might borrow from the wisdom of the past to understand today’s challenge. If it takes a village to raise a child, Children’s Village raised an entire community’s empathy.
Health System Highlights
Pine Run Village on upswing
- The Fitness and Aquatic Centers have been opened for more than a month, giving Villagers an opportunity to reconnect after the isolation of the pandemic. Bucks DOH assisted with the plan for reopening to ensure the safety of all.
- Similar initiatives to reconnect are taking place in Personal Care the Arbor at Lakeview and the Garden at Pine Run Health Center. Special meals, roving ice cream carts, pop-up exercise sessions in the hallways, doorway dining with neighbors and hallway bingo are engaging small groups.
National recognition for cardiovascular and stroke care
The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recently recognized DH for quality and patient safety in the delivery of cardiovascular and stroke care:
- Chest Pain-MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for sustained improvement in processes to treat heart attacks. DH is one of only 140 hospitals to receive the honor.
- Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite for ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate and timely treatment.
- Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll Award for performance in speedy recovery and reducing readmissions.
- Resuscitation Gold Plus Award (Adult) for implementing measures to improve treatment of in-hospital cardiac arrests.
- NSTEMI Gold Achievement Award and STEMI Receiving Center Gold Plus Achievement Award for the treatment of severe heart attacks and to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries.
Wilson Excellence in Nursing Award
We shared with Eleanor Wilson, the recently retired Chief Operating Officer and nurse advocate extraordinaire, the news about the Wilson Excellence in Nursing Award established in her honor by the Board and the Foundation. Eleanor has graciously agreed to serve on the selection committee.
About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 271 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.