Heywood Healthcare CEO Brown pleads for vaccinations


For The Athol Daily News
Published: 9/7/2021 1:35:31 PM
Modified: 9/7/2021 1:35:36 PM

ATHOL — “We are very busy on both campuses and in our practices and at our urgent care. We have a surge in Covid-19 going on, which is stressing our resources and really putting a heavy burden on our staff.”

So began Heywood Healthcare CEO Win Brown’s weekly update last Friday, Aug. 3. Said Brown of his staff: “They know that’s what they’re there for, to take care of everyone. But please know it’s a big lift for us.”

Heywood Healthcare operates Heywood and Athol hospitals, Heywood Urgent Care in Gardner, and the Tully Walk-in Care Center in Athol, as well as the Winchendon Health Center.

Brown said one simple action — vaccination — would go a long way toward arresting the surge and reducing the number of Covid cases in Heywood’s coverage area.

“We really need everyone to push forward,” he said, “to push those who are not vaccinated, vaccinated because the surge we’re experiencing is largely preventable.”

He noted that, at the time of his briefing, there were several Covid patients in the intensive care unit at Heywood Hospital.

Brown read from an op-ed piece published in the L.A. Times which discussed the seven stages of Covid.

“I think, for the community, it’s good for you to hear,” he continued. “If you are not vaccinated or have influence over people who aren’t vaccinated — and can get them to get vaccinated — this may help you a little bit.”

Brown then went through all of the stages, beginning with debilitating symptoms, including difficulty breathing, which prompt individuals to head to the emergency room. Patients are then started on anti-viral steroids, anti-coagulants, or monoclonal antibodies and oxygen and admitted to the hospital.

“‘If we can wean you off oxygen,’” he read, “‘you’ll get discharged and you’ll survive.’”

The second stage consists of increased difficulty breathing, with a sensation some patients have described as “drowning.” This requires a significant increase in oxygen. Sitting up in bed becomes difficult and the patient is transferred to the ICU.

The patient is then placed on “non-invasive, positive ventilation,” a large face mask velcroed tightly to the face that forcefully pumps oxygen in an attempt to inflate the lungs.

Next, Brown read on, “‘Your breathing becomes more labored. A blood test confirms the oxygen content in your blood is critically low. We intubate you.

“‘If you’re able to and there’s time, we suggest that you call your loved ones. This may be the last time they hear your voice.’”

The patient is then sedated and paralyzed and hooked up to a feeding tube, hooked up to a foley catheter and rectal tube. The patient is turned regularly to prevent bed sores, is bathed, turned on their stomach for better breathing, and experimental therapeutics are employed.

Brown noted the irony of employing experimental measures.

“How ironic that the majority of our patients who end up in our ICU and are critically ill,” he said, “are not vaccinated, partly because they believe the Covid-19 vaccines are experimental. But we’re going to use experimental drugs to try to save your life.”

Noting that, as a community hospital, Heywood lacks some of the more sophisticated treatment measures, Brown said patients that are stable enough will be transferred.

“Otherwise,” he said, “we’ll continue treating you as best we can. We are under-staffed and overwhelmed, but we’ll always give you the best care we can.”

Eventually, he explained, the kidneys are unable to filter the byproducts of the drugs being administered, causing the body to swell and requiring dialysis. The pressure of the oxygen being pushed into the lungs is so great it leaks into the chest cavity, requiring insertion of another tube to clear it.

“We don’t have dialysis at Heywood Hospital,” he said.

At this point the patient is susceptible to infection. Blood clots may develop. Fluid accumulates in the lung sack. The heart may stop, requiring CPR.

“‘But soon,’” he continued reading, “‘your family will have to make a difficult decision.

“‘We extubate you, turning off the breathing machinery. We set up a final Facetime call with your loved ones. As we work in the room, we are crying. We cry too, and we are holding your hand until your last natural breath.’”

In conclusion, Brown said, “So, please, if you’re not vaccinated, make an appointment to be vaccinated. You can do it through any pharmacy and also through our primary cares and our urgent cares as well.”

Brown’s briefing may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/HeywoodHospitalGardner.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com

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