Source: The News-Enterprise
If the wonderful Fred Rogers still were with us, his coronavirus advice would be obvious to his fans.
Based on his mother’s own explanation during his childhood, Mister Rogers always shared this comforting tip when an emergency would unflod: “Look for the helpers.”
In stressful times, there always are helpers.
Police and law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs, the National Guard and others in uniform can be spotted easily in most any emergency. Their work is so greatly appreciated in times of distress.
It goes much, much deeper of course. Local charities and churches are stepping up and individuals formally and informally are looking for ways to aid others. It’s very heartwarming.
Sometimes the helpers are friends and family, neighbors and acquaintances who check on you, offer to run an errand, take care of a chore or maybe even share their toilet paper.
In this emergency, the helpers even are people doing absolutely nothing. That’s because sheltering in place – being healthy at home as Gov. Andy Beshear calls it – is the best weapon available against an invisible enemy. To those who are tired of their isolation, please know the sacrifice is noticed and appreciated.
But today, it’s the doctors, nurses, technicians, clerks, custodians and administrators in the health care community who must hold down the front line.
Maybe it’s your personal physician who has changed practices and policies to keep the ill apart from those waiting for routine care in their waiting room.
Certainly, it’s the staff of the Lincoln Trail District Health Department who are responsible for monitoring the dangers and alerting individuals of exposure.
In this community, the most significant example comes from people employed by or affiliated with Hardin Memorial Health.
For more than 65 years, the hospital has served this community, growing with it and refining its mission, equipment, facilities and training to ensure we can find quality care at home.
HMH is not just the hospital. It serves a 10-county region with nearly 50 clinics, specialized practitioners and caring individuals.
I bring this up because of something that appeared in the editorial on this page last week. The final paragraph has been resonating in my mind as we hear the latest proclamations about the COVID-19 outbreak and coronavirus from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control.
Here’s what it said: “You can count on the CDC and WHO for reliable information and insight about the coronavirus. But when it comes down to actual care and expert treatment, the three letters which matter most here are HMH.”
HMH has been a part of my life all of my life. I was born there. So was my wife and our daughters.
It’s been a place of joy and sadness. Not everything that occurs in a hospital is positive. But it is a part of the community and a part of me.
Change is coming there, as you know. Baptist Health has acquired the facilities and the deal with county government is expected to be completed by year’s end.
Baptist has managed HMH for more than two decades. I expect how it prepared for this pandemic would not be very different had the deal gone through on its original timetable.
But I have to wonder: Would I have the same confidence in something called Baptist Health Hardin as I do in Hardin Memorial Hospital?
Quote Shakespeare if you like, but I’m not sure this situation would “smell as sweet” if the name didn’t embrace a lifetime of experiences and feelings about Hardin Memorial.
In all the news stories which I wrote or edited about the county’s sale of HMH, none struck me so personally as the first time I realized the name would be changed. I know it’s not logical. It’s a completely emotional reaction.
Consider this my personal appeal to the executives of Baptist Health.
Please reconsider. Cherish the goodwill that is built into this name. It’s OK if you own the facilities and I’m willing to put my continued faith in your direction of this health care operation, but let me hang on to my memories and my HMH.
Ben Sheroan, editor of The News-Enterprise, can be reached at 270-505-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.