Titled, The Helpers: Profiles from the Front Lines of the Pandemic, a new book features untold stories of exceptional individuals who went above and beyond to help others during the early days of the pandemic. One of those individuals is Suzanne Pham, M.D., associate chief medical officer at Weiss Memorial Hospital.
In a recent article featured on The Atlantic, author Kathy Gilsinan writes how in the midst of a troubling and tragic time in our world she wanted to uncover the stories of people who have acted courageously and “have stood out for their selflessness.”
Gilsinan says, “In early 2020, being myself deluged with grim headlines and aching for hope, I set out to find some of them and tell their stories. I wanted to remind myself and others about the goodness and heroism human beings are capable of. I looked all over the country for people trying to fix different pieces of American life the pandemic broke — people in the medical profession aiding the sick, people feeding the hungry as jobs disappeared, people trying to educate kids as schools shut down, and people trying to stop COVID’s transmission altogether in the historic race for vaccines.”
The book includes an emotional retelling of the chilly day in April of 2020 when Weiss received the much-needed Ventec ventilators from the government “with absolutely no time to spare.”
Gilsinan sets the scene, recounting the tears of joy as the UPS truck entered Weiss’ front lot and the staff members’ applause as the boxes were cut open and ventilators delivered. Finally, she recalled the moment when on that day, as she held one of the ventilators in her hands, Dr. Pham said, “These are lives saved.”
Dr. Pham said she was honored to share Weiss’ story about how the entire hospital came together to care for patients to the very best of their abilities during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This wave challenged our healthcare system beyond anything we had ever experienced, and it brought out true grit and passion in our healthcare workers,” she added.