At the end of what many would consider the most challenging year of their careers, colleagues across HCA Healthcare now share a sense of relief and hope. Here, a handful of our frontline caregivers reflect on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and their unparalleled significance.
HCA Healthcare colleagues began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in mid-December. Among them was Elaine Myrtle, a respiratory therapist at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota in Sarasota, Florida.
“I felt like I could breathe. It gave me a little bit of peace and security knowing that I am that much healthier to take care of my patients,” she says.
On Dec. 15, 2020, hope arrived at Alaska Regional Hospital, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center and HCA Virginia as the first HCA Healthcare affiliate hospitals to receive shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Vito Capotorto, chief of staff and hospitalist medical director for Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, was the first colleague to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among HCA Healthcare’s 185 hospitals.
“I feel like we live in a historic moment in a historic pandemic, and I’m honored to be the first,” Dr. Capotorto says.
For healthcare worker and cancer survivor Dana Hubbard, there were multiple benefits in receiving the vaccine. Dana, director of cardiac critical care units and the COVID-19 unit at HCA Healthcare’s Chippenham & Johnston-Willis hospitals in Richmond, Virginia, was in the first group of colleagues at her hospitals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s like a light at the end of a tunnel, and I’m so grateful,” Dana says. “I feel relieved that I can fully hold my 2-month-old grandson without fear. I also feel more protected, not only as a healthcare worker, but also as a cancer survivor.”