Heroes for Better: Matthew Kippenhan, MD, and the NMH Emergency Department team
April 23, 2020 | 2 min. to read
As Northwestern Memorial Hospital responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team of physicians, nurses and other care professionals and support staff in the ED have come together to support each other and continue to deliver exceptional care to patients. Matthew Kippenhan, MD, Emergency Medicine physician and medical director of the ED at NMH, has been working for weeks to help his team navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. From putting extra staff in place and making updates in Epic, to implementing the rapidly changing PPE and clinical guidelines, Dr. Kippenhan says the staff has been very flexible through it all and is grateful for everyone at Northwestern Medicine who is supporting the NMH ED. “I've been absolutely astonished by how much people have really advocated for us,” he says. “NM Incident Command has been vital to allowing rapid escalation of issues and adjusting hospital capacity. In addition, our physicians, residents, advanced practice providers, nurses, technicians and Registration and Security team members have been selfless with their time and skills. Despite the rest of the world being on hold, these team members arrive each day ready to care for any emergency.” Selena Ebert, RT(R)(CT), a radiographer in Computed Tomography at NMH, has witnessed the ED’s teamwork in action on the night shift. “Whether we receive several trauma patients at once or the entire ED floor is full of COVID-19-positive and rule-out patients, our team has pulled together on all accounts,” she says. Ebert says ED physicians and staff have placed an especially high priority on patient and team safety. She says the CT team relies on ED staff for lift assistance and ensuring patients wear face masks to help keep physicians, staff and patients safe. “Ultimately, the assistance from all the team members in the ED has made a big difference in the CT Department from helping improve turnaround times to helping patients feel safe when they come to us for care,” Ebert says. “Many patients have thanked us for taking necessary precautions and have expressed their gratitude toward us for their care and safety.” Dr. Kippenhan says the outpouring of gratitude from patients has been touching. “I’ve had more patients say thank you in the past few weeks than ever in my career,” he says. For Dr. Kippenhan, it’s hard to believe that it has been less than two months since NMH treated its first patient with COVID-19, but a thank-you letter from one of the first patients with the virus to come through the ED serves as inspiration. “She had a very long hospital and ICU course, but has now recovered and is safe at home,” he says. “These stories of triumph are heartwarming and help to reinforce the importance of our daily work.”
Heroes for Better is a campaign to honor our workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeking stories, photos or art that show teamwork, impactful interactions and inspiring moments. Some of your stories may be shared on NM Interactive, nm.org and/or NM social media channels. Submit your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.