An Open Letter to Our Communities from the Society of Hospital Medicine
December 16, 2020
Representing the fastest-growing specialty in modern healthcare, the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) is the leading medical society for hospitalists and their patients.
Friends, Colleagues, and All Members of Our Communities,
We need your help.
The COVID-19 pandemic is surging to new levels, with no sights of slowing down in the coming weeks. During the holiday season, we naturally feel increased compassion and empathy towards our friends, neighbors, and community. This year, it is more important than ever that we come together and harness that positive energy to help our communities as they continue to battle one of the most significant challenges in recent memory.
Hospitalists have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one. They have tirelessly cared for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 nationwide, performed research studies, and led teams through times of uncertainty and chaos, among many other contributions to help manage this public health crisis.
Months later, they continue to be confronted with the rapid spread of COVID-19, exploding patient census numbers, and severe burnout and fatigue. They are faced with making decisions that many cannot fathom. And, most troubling for the members of our communities, they are concerned that if recent trends continue, not only will there be no room in hospitals for those who need emergent care, but hospital staff will be spread so thinly that those already hospitalized will not be able to access the care they need.
Many patients overcome their battles with COVID-19, but there are still many who do not and will not. This is not the time for politics, questioning medical experts, or being selfish.
What can you do to help?
- Reconsider attending holiday-related gatherings that include individuals and groups from beyond your immediate household.
- When you must be in a location other than your household, maintain social distance and wear a mask.
- Wash your hands frequently.
We also know that not all of these – especially the first – are simple asks. Everyone wants to be near their family, friends, and loved ones throughout the holiday season. However, this is the year to take a step back to look at the bigger picture.
A year from now, we want that picture to include gatherings with those cherished individuals you may miss this holiday season. And we want that picture to include dramatically lower COVID-19 case numbers – and equally as low hospital census numbers – so that our hospitalists are well-equipped to treat COVID-19 patients while also delivering the best quality of care to all patients in need.
We will get through this.
Vaccines are on the way, but they will not be enough. We still need your help, and we cannot do this alone. On behalf of SHM, our member hospitalists, and the healthcare community at large, we ask you to be that light at the end of the tunnel that we so desperately need.
The Society of Hospital Medicine Board of Directors
Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSCR, SFHM, President
Jerome C. Siy, MD, SFHM, President-Elect
Rachel Thompson, MD, MPH, SFHM, Treasurer
Kris Rehm, MD, SFHM, Secretary
Christopher Frost, MD, SFHM, Immediate Past President
Tracy E. Cardin, FHM, SFHM
Steven B. Deitelzweig, MD, MMM, SFHM
Bryce Gartland, MD, SFHM
Flora Kisuule, MD, MPH, SFHM
Mark W. Shen, MD, SFHM
Darlene Tad-y, MD, SFHM
Chad T. Whelan, MD, MHSA, SFHM