Willis-Knighton hospital shares inside look during COVID-19 crisis and one patient’s triumph

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(Photos/videos courtesy: Darrell Rebouche, WKHS)

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Our local health care providers are on the front lines of treating and experiencing the global pandemic.

Scenes like the one shared by the Willis-Knighton Health System Thursday offer a glimpse into what they’re seeing every day, highlighting a battle won in the war against the highly contagious and deadly novel coronavirus.

It shows staff at WK Pierremont Center lining the halls to celebrate the first COVID-19 patient there to improve and leave the ICU. Identified as Sharon, the patient has recovered well enough to come off the ventilator that was helping to keep her alive and was moved to a non-critical floor where she will remain in isolation until her recovery is complete.

Scenes like this inside the hospital amid the anxiety and concerns are examples of the incredible courage at work as staff care for patients with COVID-19.

“There is such courage to continue to walk on to these units, to go into these patients rooms and do what we’re here to do,” said Claire Rebouche, Vice President of Quality and Clinical Performance at WKHS.

The team’s courage was just given an extra boost of morale when they got to celebrate a patient recovering and returning from the ICU.

“The staff was so thrilled to be able to celebrate with her, her success and her recovery from this journey with COVID,” said Rebouche. 

Rebouche has been with Willis-Knighton for 33 years and said it’s an unprecedented event inside hospitals everywhere.

“Everyone that has been in healthcare for any amount of time, we’ve never experienced anything like this. But it’ll do your heart good to see the staff come into work caring for these patients and administration working together to provide the staff with what they need to provide that care.”

WKHS teams are treating contagious patients at each of the four campuses. Rebouche said there’s anxiety for the patients and staff who do not want to bring the virus home to their loved ones, along with anxiety about what lies ahead. 

“Another issue is not really knowing the surge that is predicted. We don’t know how many patients and how long this will last.”

They worry about Personal Protective Equipment and are managing their supply of ventilators.

“Currently we’re okay, but we are conserving what we’ve got. We’re also using science and technology to reprocess some of our equipment.”

The staff has stepped up to be there for patients who are away from their families and can use technology to connect them. 

“One patient hasn’t seen or talked to her teenage children in two weeks now, so FaceTime is helping and thank God for the technology that’s available.”

The hospital allows two people to be with patients for end-of-life moments. Those moments are the hardest, but she said they’re in it together for the long battle ahead as staff comes in every day to fight for the lives of local families. 

Willis-Knighton urges people to adhere to the stay at home order so they can manage the number of patients coming in and prepare for more.

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