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Hospital Week is a time to celebrate heroes

Viewpoint

National Hospital Week began Sunday and provides a formal opportunity to salute our employees and health care workers across Maui County and to thank them for all they do. This year, Hospital Week is incredibly special because it’s a chance to celebrate and recognize the incredible work of our Maui Health team.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional challenge and unlike any our health care providers or our employees have experienced. This last year, we have witnessed our Maui Health employees not only show up but step up to meet these challenges head on. Every nurse, every housekeeper, every respiratory therapist, every engineer and so many others have had a vital role in persevering through this crisis, proving that we truly are one ‘ohana, one team.

Maui Health employees are heroes. They have dedicated their lives to the care and well-being of our patients, our community and each other. In the face of the pandemic, they have gone above and beyond to keep everyone who walked through our doors safe. They have sacrificed time away from their families to be here on the front lines. And, they have learned that to provide the necessary care, sacrifices had to be made. Many of our employees made the difficult decision to distance themselves from loved ones to keep them safe. Some slept on the couch or outside in a tent, others sequestered themselves in separate rooms and some even used makeshift showers in the yard to wash off before entering their homes. Their experiences are unique to them but are woven together by so many unknowns of this virus and the fear, loneliness and anxiety, those early days brought. Through the support of their team and the passage of time and more understanding of the virus, we came through this year, stronger, more resilient and focused on working together through crisis, because together we are stronger and together, we heal.

As we started this new year, we began with hope for our future with the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hope and healing continue as our team works diligently to vaccinate every eligible individual as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Maui Health vaccine teams and their accomplishments proves how far we have come in working together for the common good. This was a massive team effort from our clinicians who administered the vaccines, to our managers, volunteers, nursing students and employees who volunteered their time to ensure our community had the best experience. And, together, our clinics have administered more than 55,000 vaccines! Our efforts helped bring a start to the healing and protection from the ravages of this pandemic. I was grateful to see the smiles of happiness and relief, especially on the faces of our kupuna after they received their vaccine and thanked our team. We have received dozens of thank you letters from our community for making the vaccine process as easy as possible and answering thousands of emails and calls.

So, this year, as we celebrate National Hospital Week 2021, we will reflect on the challenges of the year behind us that taught us so much, but more importantly, we will look ahead to the future — to what we have learned, how we have grown and changed as a team and how we will continue to work harder at being the health and wellness resource for our community. Because we are stronger together and together, we heal.

From all of us at Maui Health to health care heroes across our county — thank you for your support and contributions. Here’s to brighter future full of hope, health and healing.

* Michael Rembis is the president and CEO of Maui Health, which operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital.

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