The Fire this Time
At the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, as lives were being consumed at wildfire speed, both the health care and the pharmaceutical industries the world over struggled mightily to control the blaze. On the health care front, hospitals were ill-equipped to handle the number of cases; one hospital, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, had so many fatalities that they were forced to stack the dead in refrigerated containers. Many doctors all across the planet either became ill or died because their hospitals failed to contemplate the volume of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safeguard health care professionals.
The crisis was so severe that hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital had to move more than $1 billion in ongoing research to other floors so that they could repurpose the R&D wing to accommodate the massive overflow of COVID-19 cases. Thus, the mayhem extended not only to victims, but also to important investigations for catastrophic illnesses that ran the risk of spoiling.
When the leadership at Massachusetts General met early in the pandemic to put in place protocols to triage for the COVID contagion that was coming down the pike,
they knew swift action needed to be taken immediately. Mass General has an incident commander who leads a team that strategizes preparedness for emergencies such as the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
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