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Bob Bell imageI'll start by saying that, as always, the people of this hospital impressed me with competence, thoughtfulness and willingness to work through a new situation. It is an honour to lead UHN and to know that people here rise to a challenge, whatever that challenge may be. There's a danger in singling departments or individuals out for recognition but I'm going to run that risk because I think the bulk of our H1N1 response fell on the shoulders of a few areas.

First—My thanks to Jane Sloggett and her team in Occupational Health and Safety. They gave over 10,000 doses of flu vaccine to staff, students, volunteers and physicians in a very short period of time with an uptake of over 80 percent. I'm sure that Jane would be the first to say that they couldn't have done it without the support of a number of areas including the Nursing Resource Team.

Second—Dr. Susy Hota and Karen Stockton of Infection Prevention and Control and their team deserve much credit for sorting through all of the information, being available with sensible advice, and for all of the work with other departments to ensure that our staff and patients were protected and supported. Susy also took on the media spokesperson role for UHN and, in Peter Mansbridge's words, was unflappable.

Third—To the Pandemic Planning group that was chaired by Marnie Weber and Frank Tourneur and put in to operation all of the things that needed to happen in order for UHN to be comfortable in our preparations. From having sufficient supplies on hand, to the installation of new barriers, through to the plans for redeployment should that have been necessary—we were ready and I know how many people worked so that that could be said with confidence.

Doctors clipart imageFourth—To our leaders at the hospitals (Kathy, Jeanne, Sarah, Marnie and Scott) who kept our operations running while we also paid careful attention to H1N1. UHN has responsibility for so many critical elements of the Ontario health-care system and we kept those commitments even while managing a (fortunately minor) pandemic.

Fifth—To the staff of our ER's and Critical Care areas. Our ER's doubled their usual daily volumes of patients and demonstrated remarkable innovation and initiative in maintaining flow despite the challenges of increased patient loads. And the sickest patients were referred to our Critical Care areas for ventilation support and even artificial lung support. Our staff responded to the extra load and kept our usual Critical Care activity (transplants and neurocriticall response) going.

And finally—My thanks to Charlie Chan who worked throughout this period with our medical staff to make sure that we had also planned for appropriate treatment of our patients and that, if we had had to reduce service, that it would have been done in a thoughtful way with a view to preserving as much care as possible.

This issue of UHNews is a roundup of our response to H1N1. I'll close by saying that I think we did well and that we will, as always, learn from the experience and incorporate what we learned into our plans for the next event— whatever it might be.

Bob Bell Signature image

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