COVID-19: Children’s Health Leadership Update

April 22, 2020

Dear friends,

First, and foremost, we hope this note finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. These are unprecedented times, like none we've seen in our careers. When we became physicians we took an oath to learn from those who came before us and to share our knowledge with those who newly join the profession. What we have learned about humanity and kindness, in these uncertain times, will be a large part of what we personally share with the next generation of doctors.

At the onset of the pandemic, our children’s and women’s care teams started meeting seven days a week, set up command centers, opened new channels of communications, participated in meetings with other leading children’s hospitals, and rolled up our sleeves to prepare for the potential influx of patients and inevitable challenges. MUSC was the first health system to create a drive-through testing site and we quickly initiated additional safe hand hygiene and social distancing practices throughout our facilities. Our telehealth services expanded overnight and we quickly ramped up to 80% appointment capacity via virtual visits. The speed, flexibility, and accuracy with which our teams performed during the unpredictable day-to-day allowed us to prepare for the predicted influx of cases. While children fared better than adults, we had to be prepared for medical supply shortages and even space challenges as a result of the adult population increase. All this had to happen while we continued to care for women and children already in the hospital for non-COVID-19 related issues.

The Lowcountry's outpouring of generosity and support over these past weeks/months has made it possible for our health care team members to focus on what is most important: protecting the health of our patients, families, and each other. It can never be adequately expressed how much we appreciate the love and support we have received from you, your families, businesses, and the community. We are extremely grateful that, with your help, we moved into the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion just two weeks shy of the COVID-19 outbreak. The unprecedented level of care we can now offer regionally, and nationally, provides strength and hope as we prepare for the new normal. We will continue to need your support and guidance as we create recovery plans for the MUSC Children's Health system, our care team members, and the communities who have been so greatly impacted.

Thank you, thank you, for your continued support and sincere concern for our patients and care team members. We hope that your family and community enjoy the change of season and may it provide a sense of togetherness and normalcy.

Be well.

Mark Scheurer, M.D., and Andrew Atz, M.D.

MUSC Children’s Health