Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is helping Hardin Memorial Hospital as it deals with COVID-19.
The school’s hospital beds and ventilators are ready to be given to HMH for use if there’s a need.
Rebecca Higdon, respiratory care program director, said the college has close ties to the hospital.
“We have relationships with the different hospitals and have managers, directors from those facilities,” Higdon said.
She said she received a text message two-and-a-half weeks ago from Melanie Whitlock, respiratory manager at HMH and advisory board chairwoman of the ECTC respiratory care program.
“Her text said, ‘I’m gonna need your ventilators.’ And I thought she was kidding,” Higdon said.
Whitlock was serious.
Higdon said the hospital was looking in as many places as possible to get as many ventilators as they can, including ECTC, which has four.
Higdon said she also reached out to ECTC President and CEO Juston Pate about the ventilators. He said they would give the hospital whatever they needed to respond to the pandemic.
Because the ventilators came with an agreement the program would not use them on the public, paperwork was issued to change that restriction, she said, and now the devices are ready to go in case the hospital needs them.
While she was shocked to be asked about the ventilators so early on, Higdin said she was not surprised of the possible need to have as many ventilators on hand for the virus.
“I’m thankful for a facility like Hardin Memorial that is thinking and acting way before they needed them,” she said.
Higdon said she sees people posting on social media about being healthy and how the virus will not affect them, and realizes people don’t understand the magnitude of what a virus such as this can do.
“That’s the people I’m afraid of. When people don’t take it serious,” Higdon said.
She said students within her program also are conducting online work, but said students are upset they can’t get back into school.
She said one of the students reached out to hospital about volunteering since they felt they needed to help.
Martha Glutting, associate degree nursing program coordinator and professor, said she was contacted regarding the hospital beds at ECTC.
“I think the whole college is willing to do anything for the community that we can,” Glutting said.
A member of the emergency disaster planning team reached out Monday about borrowing the 50 hospital beds in case the hospital needs them.
The beds are typically used for labs and mannequins that the nursing students use to learn how to take care of patients.
These beds were given to the school by the hospital because they bought new ones. Glutting said the hospital would most likely load them into a truck to transport them.
“I was very impressed with Hardin Memorial because they are a step ahead of this,” Glutting said.
For nursing students, Glutting said they also are doing virtual labs and online work. While she said this requires more motivation, she said the nursing students at the college already have that capability.
“I think with our nursing students, we have the cream of the crop as far as students go,” Glutting said.
For those also looking to help the hospital, the HMH Foundation has established an online donation portal at ourhmh.org/online-donations/.
“People should feel confident that Hardin Memorial is preparing,” Higdon said.