ICU Physician (former Director of ICU)
In early 2020, even before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, plans had been set in motion to increase the number of beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Dr. Lapinsky knew the ICU teams needed to act quickly, and directed plans to increase the number of beds from 16 up to 50.
“Our advance planning paid off, based on experiences during the H1N1 pandemic. We had planned to open an additional unit to increase the number of ICU beds, and when we needed to open it up, it went really smoothly. Plus, we got support from nurses and physicians from other areas, so staffing wasn’t as much of a challenge.
“Our teams have been outstanding. Of course, there’s been a fair amount of stress, but we’ve had a lot of support from psychiatry. Many of our psychiatric colleagues have experience dating back to SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009, so they are experts in the dealing with health care stress. They’ve been supporting us through the entire pandemic just by being available to the ICU team. We see them pretty much every day.
“We’ve also relied heavily on technology. We have an ICU physician WhatsApp group, which has made communication so much quicker. If something's wrong — we need an extra doctor, for example — we simply send a message through WhatsApp and everyone knows about it.
“Another benefit has been the donation of iPads to help patients communicate with family remotely, when visitors have been limited. They have now become a standard part of our practice.”