Doctors’ Day takes on new meaning during pandemic

Sanford Health recognizes physicians working through coronavirus outbreak

Doctors’ Day takes on new meaning during pandemic

It is a National Doctors’ Day like no other.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeps our country, the annual day of recognition March 30 takes on an even deeper meaning. Health care providers are on the front lines of care as the rest of the world watches — from quarantine, isolation or a socially safe distance.

Chief Medical Officer Allison Suttle, M.D., knows health care wouldn’t exist without doctors — today and every day.

Delivering quality care is the organization’s priority but so is the safety of its 50,000 employees. Thankfully, there is no concern over supplies or personal protective equipment right now.

“I know this is an anxious time, and many of you are working around the clock to ensure we’re ready,” Dr. Suttle said. “Thank you for your commitment.”

No shortage of supplies or gratitude

Dr. Suttle, a board-certified OB/GYN, has long-standing reverence for medical professionals in general. That feeling is emphasized even more amid a global pandemic as she expresses gratitude for the front-line caregivers. Her admiration for physicians dates back several decades.

“The first thing I think of is my dad, who is a physician,” Dr. Suttle said. “An individual I look up to.”

With such respect for the profession, Dr. Suttle thinks not only about her own father but all her colleagues, past and present.

“Some of the intense and wonderful situations we’ve been in, we’ve had the privilege to be in, was taking care of patients together. Working with Anesthesia in the (operating room), working with nurses at the bedside… all of the caretakers. It’s a privilege to be a physician and be at the bedside taking care of patients,” Dr. Suttle said.

Sanford doctors by the numbers

In its more than 80 specialty areas, Sanford Health employs nearly 1,390 physicians to provide each year:

  • 5.3 million outpatient and clinic visits
  • 84,466 admissions
  • 136,436 surgeries and procedures
  • 9,537 births
  • 210,129 visits to the emergency department

Thank you, doctors

“We have a very large group of physicians and we are so lucky to have each and every one of them,” Dr. Suttle said.

It is times of crisis that really bring out the best of health care workers in the Sanford Family, Dr. Suttle said. But pandemic or not, she has fellow Sanford Health physicians on her mind on her drive to work each morning.

“I think about the hundreds of thousands of patients touched every day by those physicians and how important each and every one of those physicians are to what Sanford does,” she said. “I have such great respect for the Sanford physician and for the culture we’ve created as a group of physicians at Sanford. It takes each and every one of you, so thank you.”

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Posted In COVID-19, Physicians and APPs, Sanford Stories