2020 has shaken the healthcare industry to its core. Yet, while facing incredible hardships, our frontline workers have shown the depth of their resilience and courage time and time again. Last week, RubiconMD partnered with NYC Health Business Leaders to honor the true heroes of 2020 during a virtual benefit concert.
The event, co-hosted by Bunny Ellerin and Gil Addo, included musical performances, insights from industry leaders, and candid conversations with healthcare workers. In total, the event raised $40k for three charities that have been critical in supporting communities throughout the pandemic.
Frontline workers shared their first-hand experiences about what it was like working in often over-burdened hospitals in the early days of the pandemic when New York City was particularly hard hit.
Dr. Ben Gold is a 3rd year cardiology fellow at Mount Sinai, where he also rotates at Elmhurst Hospital. He was immediately deployed to Elmhurst in March to help with the influx of patients.
“The system was completely overwhelmed and it transformed the hospital into a place that was unrecognizable to me. The thing that anchored me was the fact that basically everybody in the hospital pulled together in a heroic effort from the attendings in their 60s and 70s coming in, to med students, to nurses absolutely selflessly gearing up and feeding patients and doing the vent setting changes, right down to the cafeteria workers and janitors who didn’t miss a beat.”
Dr. Ray Lorenzoni is a pediatrician training in pediatric cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center, which serves the Bronx. He worked on the frontlines in March and April, when NYC was especially hard hit, and Montefiore Children’s Hospital converted one of its floors to an adult unit.
“As soon as it opened up, it was filled with adult patients. Many of us hadn’t taken care of adult patients in close to a decade. We had to relearn adult medicine … The most touching aspect of the time was the humanity that came into it. A lot of the time, it was a single physician going in and out to rooms to try to minimize exposure, so that physician knew most of the patients. When I was that physician, it was tough. You sat down with patients, you explained the situation, obviously trying to comfort a lot of their fears, but both you and the patient knew everything that could be done was being done and there just weren’t a lot of answers.”
Dr. Arabia Mollette is an emergency medicine physician at Brookdale University Hospital. The Brooklyn hospital was one of the hardest hit in the entire state and saw the highest rate of deaths.“What stood out the most was the pandemic of racism that came out of this pandemic. Disproportionately, black and brown people have died from this pandemic and not just because of the virus itself, more because of systematic racism - institutionalized racism. I work in a very poor community - a level 1 trauma center in Brooklyn - and I say this because there are institutional disparities. Depending on where one lives, that hospital may have the resources. There were reports that there are certain hospitals that were in more affluent neighborhoods throughout NYC that were able to receive financial backing, whereas hospitals such as the one I work at, did not necessarily see a lot of support initially. We were in a medical war zone. We still are. I will say that New York definitely pulled through and it wasn’t just the doctors and the nurses and other allied health professionals, it was the community.”
To watch the full event, visit https://youtu.be/KPCkN6-7v6Y.
Learn more about the three incredible charities and consider making a donation: