Today's Paper Latest The Article Story ideas Core Values iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT

Rogers hospital thanks its employees with event

by Laurinda Joenks | May 11, 2021 at 4:30 a.m.
Attendees bow their heads for a moment of silence, Monday at the Bergant Terrace at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/2105111Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

ROGERS -- Words written with colored chalk on the sidewalk of the Bergman Terrace at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers on Monday thanked the hospital's nearly 2,300 staff members: growth, faith, kindness, brave, diligence, love.

The hospital held a "Brighter Future Because of You" celebration to honor and thank staff members who served patients during the covid-19 pandemic.

The event also recognized Martha and Paul Bergant for donations benefiting Mercy's nearly $300 million expansion. Mercy will dedicate new sculptures and a water feature on the terrace to its local health care workers. Weather has delayed their completion, said Eric Pianalto, president of the local hospital.

"There are so many health care heroes," Pianalto said. "We love you. You've been great. We can't thank you enough for your dedication."

Pianalto also pointed to pinwheels on a grass berm representing the 900 people who received care at Mercy hospital and its clinics for the coronavirus.

The silver pinwheels represent the 140 patients who died, he said.

The nurses never left anybody to die alone, said Kelli Huntley, chief operating officer of Mercy Clinic. She shared a story told to her by Erica Schamber, a hospital custodian.

"As the patients faced death, the nurses would hold their hands," Huntley said.

Hospital administrators used words of staff, patients and families when they spoke.

One employee walked past room after room on the way to see his uncle, who died just an hour later, shared David Fortner, vice president of operations.

"You never think it will happen to you," Fortner said. "It took an eternity to get to his uncle's room. But as he walked past room after room, he realized each room held one patient, with one family and one story."

Huntley continued Schamber's story.

"As she cleaned the patients' rooms, she would be one, brief human connection for them because our visitation policies changed. She would talk to them about the weather, their families, the flowers and posters in their rooms," Huntley said.

The custodian learned the patients shared three fears: isolation, not being in control and death, Huntley said.

"When she left, she would ask them if they'd like their door open or closed," Huntley related. "She gave them that one little bit of control, when they could be in control of nothing else."

Dr. Sonal Bhakta, vice president for medical affairs, shared words from her doctors.

"It felt like I was going to war the first time I put a covid patient on a ventilator."

"It was the first time in my career I felt totally helpless."

"An even greater number of people got to see us do what God put us here to do. We don't understand God's plan fully, but we have learned as we go."

Only a handful of Mercy employees attended the ceremony, wearing their scrubs and Army green T-shirts that read "Mercy Strong." Most health care workers were with patients in the towers above the terrace.

Andrea Leonard, a nurse manager in a unit dedicated to anesthesia and infusion, said the celebration was nice, but she and her fellow nurses felt appreciation throughout the pandemic.

Jennifer Summers, the director of surgery services, said thanks wasn't needed.

"That's our calling," she said.

Mercy staff Kimberly Morales (from left), Anita Stout and Carina Perez look at dedications and artwork highlighting memories from the covid-19 pandemic, Monday at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210511Daily/ for today's photo gallery. 
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Mercy staff Kimberly Morales (from left), Anita Stout and Carina Perez look at dedications and artwork highlighting memories from the covid-19 pandemic, Monday at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210511Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Thank you cards are displayed, Monday at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210510Daily/ for today's photo gallery. 
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Thank you cards are displayed, Monday at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210510Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Pinwheels are displayed, Monday at the Bergant Terrace at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210511Daily/ for today's photo gallery. 
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Pinwheels are displayed, Monday at the Bergant Terrace at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers. Mercy held a day of remembrance titled "Brighter Days Ahead Because of You" to recognize health care workers for their compassionate service and sacrifices during the covid-19 pandemic. Check out nwaonline.com/210511Daily/ for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT