Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a plea to retired healthcare professionals. He asked them to volunteer their expertise as the county attempts to address new coronavirus cases.
“If you would be willing to come back onto the field of service at this critical time for our region and our nation, we need you,” Jenkins said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Already, several dozen former doctors and nurses have answered the call.
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Luis Saldana spends a lot of time on his iPad studying and reading the latest on COVID19. So, he didn’t think twice when Jenkins made the request.
Immediately, Saldana, now two-years retired, sent an email. He was at the top of the volunteer roll call list.
“That came almost immediately. Almost immediately I thought can I help in this,” he said. “The woman from the Dallas County medical society said, ‘you’re the first one.’”
For more than 35 years, Saldana was a physician. Much of that time was spent in emergency medicine. Today, he’s in touch with his medical peers and knows exactly what he could walk into.
“That’s it’s continuing to get worse. That the equipment’s not there. The testing’s not there,” said Saldana.
Still, he wants to help. Jon Roth, CEO of the Dallas County Medical Society, said it’s the attitude of several dozen others who’ve come forward.
“In 36 hours, we’ve had 140 people come forward,” he said. “I had a nurse who wrote in and said ‘I would love to help. I’m working full time but on my days off I’m willing to come in and help.’”
Jon Roth will oversee the placement of volunteers. He said logistics involve quite a few moving parts.
“We need to understand what their capabilities are from a clinical and administrative standpoint. The second phase is then to match them up with organizations who have a need,” he said.
With the way new cases are progressing, Roth said we could see volunteers in the field in as soon as a week.
“We are talking about people stretching throughout Dallas County into any of the healthcare settings, either existing or that might be coming into being,” he said.
Some will be placed in administrative roles.
“Others will be on the front lines clinically, either doing testing or other types of services with patients care,” said Roth. “Anybody who has clinical experience in emergency room settings is particularly important in that’s where patients typically first present is into the ER.”
As he sits and watching the volunteer emails come in, he calls them healthcare heroes
Saldana said he knows what the system is up against and simply wants to help.
“I know that this is going to be a challenge for everyone in the medical system, that the system is going to be challenged like it never has been,” said Saldana.
Jon Roth said the Dallas County Medical Society has teamed up with the DFW Hospital Council to determine where the help is most needed.