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Intermountain Healthcare caregivers return home after helping frontline clinicians in NYC save lives from COVID-19 Pandemic

Intermountain Healthcare

Dr. Dixie Harris an Intermountain Healthcare Critical Care Physician spoke with Emily Clark of ABC4 News about Front Line workers being deployed to the New York City area hospitals to assist with the COVID-19 Pandemic and their return.

The first team of caregivers from Intermountain Healthcare left Salt Lake City on April 14th to assist hospitals and caregivers in New York who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of Intermountain Healthcare clinicians – many more than were able to go to New York – expressed interest in providing assistance to states facing major surges in COVID-19 cases that are also currently experiencing severe staffing shortages. 

In response, Intermountain Healthcare created two COVID-19 Response Teams totaling 100 caregivers that deployed to the New York City area to assist hospitals. Clinicians say the opportunity to get the first-hand experience treating COVID-19 patients and learning best practices will benefit Utah patients if there is a surge of patients here in Utah who need hospital care.

“The most uplifting thing is the focus on maintaining humanity in the process of caring for patients during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Dr. Dixie Harris, “It was an amazing experience. Our colleagues in New York were so grateful and appreciative of the help that they received. It was an honor to go there and help them during this difficult time.

They are heroes.”

Intermountain Healthcare partnered with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Northwell Health, both located in the New York City area. These healthcare systems will aim to return the favor by supporting Intermountain as much as they can when Utah faces its own surge with COVID-19 patients.

Each Intermountain Healthcare team had 50 caregivers (100 total) who served in NYC for 14 days. These voluntary teams were made up of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other caregivers.

Dr. Harris said she was excited to help her fellow caregivers in NYC, who’ve been working around the clock every day of the week to try and save the lives of so many ill COVID-19 patients.

“This is why we all got into medicine. People need our help. We’re going to help them,” she said.

“I’m incredibly proud that so many of our caregivers want to help others in need, and we have the capacity right now to share our staff with others in the middle of their COVID-19 surge,” said Paul Krakovitz, MD, Intermountain Healthcare’s chief medical officer for specialty-based care. “Not only will they provide care for patients in New York, but they will also bring back knowledge and experience to share with their Utah colleagues that will help us serve Utah patients.”

“This temporary sharing of staff experienced in treating COVID-19 will greatly benefit patients in Utah and elsewhere,” said Dr. Krakovitz. 

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