11.13.2020 Back to News

Dr. Lydiatt Praises Frontline Health Workers: 'We Owe Them a Debt of Gratitude'

During two media events Friday, Nov. 13, Bill Lydiatt, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer for Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women's Hospital, thanked frontline health workers for their tireless efforts during COVID-19. 

Watch the Events

Area hospital chief medial officer (CMO) update

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's COVID-19 press conference

Dr. Lydiatt's Remarks

CMO Update

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of our staff, our nurses, our phlebotomists, our nutritionists, our environmental services workers, our physicians, all of the staff that are working incredibly hard through incredible odds through wearing very uncomfortable PPE, going in and caring for people again and again and again and doing it with compassion and with honor. Their selfless dedication is a model and the goal for all of us." 

Mayor's Press Conference

“So as I’m walking up on the wards, I watch the nurses. And they come out of the room – they’re wearing PPE, which is heavy. It’s hot. It’s uncomfortable. And they’ve been in and out for 12-hour shifts, treating people with COVID. They’re subjected to coughing and all kinds of ways that can expose them. Many of them are young mothers or fathers … And they come in and – to a person –  I ask them how they’re doing. They turn around and ask me. Or they will say: ‘It’s not fun. It’s not easy. But it’s what we’re here for, and we’re gonna get through it.’ And I think that is to me the most important message that the public can hear. These people are truly – day in and day out – coming in and doing what is necessary because of the responsibility they have as health care professionals and because of their core values. And so I’m not going to say a whole lot more about the numbers at Methodist, but what I do want to end with is I believe we owe them a debt of gratitude. And I think the best way to pay that debt is to wear a mask, to socially distance, to keep your crowded places very limited, to consider Thanksgiving – have it be a small and intimate affair and not a big one. Celebrate weddings virtually or from a distance. I know this is not easy. This is hard stuff. This means delayed gratification. And is it fair? No, it’s not fair. But it is necessary. And I think if you just keep in the back of your mind the image of that dedicated nurse or respiratory therapist or fatigued physician or environmental services worker who walks in and does their job time after time after time, you will see that it’s not really as big of an imposition as you might think.”

“My dad and mom got married in 1942 and within about four months, my dad went overseas to fight in WWII, not knowing whether he would live or die and not knowing when he would come home. He came home in 1945. They had been married for three or so years – about four months of which they’d been together. They didn’t start out as the greatest generation. They became the greatest generation … We can also become the greatest generation. I sense the anger in your voice, and I hear it. And I certainly feel it. And I’ll tell ya what, when I hear somebody say, ‘COVID’s a farce’ or ‘It’s all a hoax’ or ‘It’s not that big of deal,’ I just wish they could see what I’ve seen and see what our physicians and nurses can see on a regular basis, on a daily basis, on a 24-hour-a-day basis. So I think that fundamentally we’re all on the same page. This is about individual personal responsibility and social responsibility. And I think you all can do things about it too. You can keep reporting it, you can keep talking about it. And do it a non-pejorative way, but bring it to the attention of what the real stake is here. This is about our health care system having the capacity to care for our community. We have that capacity now, but it’s limited, and it won’t go on forever. This is a faucet that we have to shut off. We have to shut if off by protecting ourselves and each other. And I also tell our health care workers, it’s also their responsibility to stay well – to not go to that bar, to not go out into situations where you’re going to put yourself at higher risk. It’s each one of us all the time, and it’s not easy.”