Healing Through Shared Experiences

During COVID, a wellness committee has tried to develop initiatives to bring the medical community together and fight isolation.

When Hospitalist Mary Scott, DO, started at SVMH in 2018, Chief Medical Officer Allen Radner, MD, asked her to create a wellness committee within the Salinas Valley Medical Clinic. During COVID, that wellness committee has tried to develop initiatives to bring the medical community together and fight feelings of isolation.

“We started a quarterly Zoom wellness social called Toast for Tranquility. Each event had a short educational wellness presentation, but it was most importantly a platform for our providers to share their experiences and struggles with one another,” Dr. Scott says.

She recalls one memorable moment from a Toast for Tranquility small group sharing session. Sharing her experience taking care of a postpartum patient with COVID, Dr. Scott and two fellow doctors realized that while they don’t traditionally work together, they had all been involved in the same case at different stages. The maternal fetal medicine physician was consulted early on to help minimize risk to the patient’s fetus. The obstetrician performed the delivery. Then, Dr. Scott cared for the mother during her prolonged postpartum hospital stay due to COVID complications.

“The case was memorable for all of us – a young mother in her third trimester who required intubation and sedation in our Intensive Care Unit,” Dr. Scott recalls.

“When it was deemed safe for the baby, she underwent cesarean section while she was still intubated. She eventually woke up to find that she was no longer pregnant and that her baby had been discharged from the hospital. She didn’t get to hold or even see her baby for the first month of life. Thankfully, she eventually recovered and was able to go home to reunite with her newborn.”

While they had all felt alone in their emotional burdens providing day-to-day care in a depressing scenario, it was incredibly powerful for all three doctors to realize that it was in fact a shared experience – that they were not actually alone.

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