During the recent tornado in Lee County, East Alabama Medical Center not only saved lives and healed wounds but through its foundation and the generosity of countless organizations and individuals has provided housing for the 21 displaced families for an entire year.
In 2011 when tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa and other parts of the state, hospitals rallied to care for the victims and their families, often putting their own lives in harm’s way to get to the hospital and help their communities.
The same can be said for the men and women who worked in hospitals in south Alabama during the previous hurricanes. They not only provided emergency services to local citizens but also provided care to patients from surrounding states. When the storm waters rose, many residents even sought shelter and comfort behind the walls of south Alabama hospitals, bringing their belongings and their pets.
In each of these instances, local hospital employees, doctors and volunteers provided much-needed hope and healing, which is the theme of this year’s national celebration of Hospital Week.
However, as we celebrate this week, there are literally thousands of stories, most of which are often untold, of hospital caregivers who daily go above and beyond their job descriptions to give their patients a better life or to return a loved one to his or her family. There are miracles of surgeries, operations that restore the ability to walk, remove cancers and repair hearts. There are life-saving treatments that cure infections and prevent strokes and complications from diabetes. There are also numerous tales of weddings provided by hospital staff at the bedside of a dying parent and of less-fortunate individuals discharged with bags of food and clothing collected by staff.
We talk a lot about the tremendous economic impact hospitals have on their communities and that’s important, but this week we are celebrating the fact they save lives and make life better. This week, we thank the men and women who go to work every day to safeguard the health of our communities.
Donald E. Williamson, MD, President
Alabama Hospital Association