You Can Help Us Respond to the Challenges of COVID-19

Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO, Lifespan
Nurse in full PPE working on computer

Lifespan hospitals—especially Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam—continue to experience a worsening of the second surge of the coronavirus. This surge is creating significant capacity challenges for our hospitals as well as for most hospitals across the country. 

On behalf of all hospitals and health care workers, and all other essential workers, I am asking for your help. Please comply fully with Governor Raimondo’s “pause” requirements and restrictions and stay home. Front line staff have been working tirelessly and without regard for their own health since the start of the pandemic. They are weary beyond description. I believe most people try to follow the infectious disease guidelines, but if you have a friend or relative who does not wear a mask in public, or who goes out to socialize, please urge them to help us by staying home and if they must go out, wear a mask and social distance when they are not at home.

Lifespan has partnered with the state to open and staff the Alternative Hospital Site (AHS) at the RI Convention Center, which will operate under the RIH license and function as a medical inpatient unit.  It will be a hospital, with all the support a hospital offers: oxygen and respiratory therapy, social work, x-ray, a pharmacy and pharmacists, interpreters, clinical support such as CNAs, and doctors and nurses from Rhode Island Hospital. All transfers to the AHS will be done by ambulance only. It was something that I hoped we would never need to use. 

During the first coronavirus surge, many patients delayed routine and emergency care, which proved dangerous and sometimes fatal. We continue to offer routine and emergent medical care to ensure the health of all our patients. Please do not cancel your appointments and treatments. The hospital is safe and open, ready to care for you, but if the public does not comply with the “pause” requirements, our ability to continue to provide routine and emergent care will be at risk. 

I am hopeful that the combination of the actions we are taking, a vaccine coming soon, and vigilance to adhere to infectious disease standards of social distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene will successfully manage what appears to be a peak in the second surge.  

The pandemic has taken an enormous physical and emotional toll. Words cannot express the gratitude, admiration, and thanks I have for our hospital staff, first responders, teachers and child care workers, transportation and delivery personnel, grocery store employees and thousands of other essential workers who have played a critical role over these past several months. This virus is real, highly contagious, and appears to be spreading without control. I continue to hope that we will all follow the medical guidance and state mandates to ensure our essential workers can continue to be here for you. 

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