By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — As Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System reflects on what COVID-19 has meant to them in 2020, they realize that medicine in Reno County working together has saved lives.
"What an absolutely amazing medical community we have," said Chuck Welch with the hospital. "If we hadn't had our four pulmonologists, if we hadn't had our hospitalists. If we hadn't had the capabilities and then the camaraderie of everybody in the community, I don't know that we would have made it by with 100 deaths. It could have been much, much worse."
It's not been about who makes the most money, it's been about keeping this virus at bay by all means necessary.
"Watching competitors in this community put that aside and do what's best for the community," Welch said. "All of that has just been tremendous and I really will strive to make sure that we continue to do that as a community moving into 2021."
Hospital CEO Ken Johnson notes that the community as a whole has come to help how they can, too.
"The support that we have received, as a medical community, from everyone else that's not necessarily a part of the medical delivery, has been significant. We had a prayer vigil out here in April. I know that they've supported our organization and other organizations as a community with food, with gift cards, with flowers, with cards. We just continue, almost daily, to have some members, some group from the community provide some support in some way."
Even though the vaccine has begun being delivered to the health care workers locally, the battle is not over. The medical community still needs each other and the rest of the area to remain vigilant as the fight continues into 2021.