Frontline workers at Memorial Regional reflect 1 year into COVID-19 pandemic

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Frontline workers at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood took time out of their schedule to reflect on working during the coronavirus pandemic for the past year.

Doctors, nurses and hospital staff paused on Wednesday for a ceremony to remember the heartbreak they have seen on the front lines.

“Today is a day to acknowledge and reflect on the tremendous courage, strength and spirit of all who have been on the frontlines of this disease,” a hospital employee said.

The ceremony commemorated more than a year of serving the South Florida community during the pandemic.

“This year has challenged us beyond belief,” Memorial Regional Hospital CEO Peter Powers said. “We’re here to remember the past year to take time to reflect, to celebrate our successes and remember those that we lost and to think about those we’ve saved.”

Those who gathered paid tribute to the patients and colleagues they have lost along the way.

“That’s what we see everyday on a day to day basis — people that don’t make it, people with co-morbidities that don’t have a chance to survive with the COVID,” nurse Cheryl Birmingham said. “That’s what we see.”

At times, the pandemic meant the frontline workers could not see their loved ones.

“None of us chose this,” said Rev. David Collins, the director of spiritual care at the hospital. “None of us want to be in this situation, but on my side it has illuminated the greatness of the community here.”

While they see a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the workers are quick to remind people that the hard work is far from over.

“We have a false sense of security that we’re vaccinated, and therefore, we have this shield, but the many variants out there, we still need to socially distance, wear a mask and protect each other,” a doctor said.

The hospital admitted its first COVID-19 patient on March 7, 2020. It was one of five hospitals in Florida to begin initial rollout of a vaccine.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.