At OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Dawn Nolt, MD, MPH, specializes in caring for children with infectious diseases. She’s also the pediatric medical director for the department of Infection Prevention and Control. That means not only does she care for children at OHSU, she also cares for OHSU itself, as if it were a patient. She considers that a privilege.
Nolt is also caring for Oregon as a state. In March, after she presented OHSU’s response to COVID-19 with state legislators, she recently shared her expertise with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, discussing what both parents and kids can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
While COVID-19 is not a disease that affects children with the same frequency and severity as adults, health care providers at OHSU Doernbecher are ready to care for pediatric patients with COVID-19. This includes ensuring medications and equipment are in good supply and appropriate for children.
“Daily, our team assesses the impact of our COVID-19 response on the hospital’s needs — for our patients with visitation and testing; our employees, with masks and communications; and our supplies, such as PPE and testing equipment,” Nolt said. “We are also — very cautiously — starting to plan for when the hospital may start to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity. OHSU is working closely with other area hospitals, our public health partners, and with the governor to determine when to begin to resume previously restricted medical care — such as elective surgeries and in-person doctor’s visits.”
Each day, Nolt is filled with hope, from the collaboration of her colleagues in hammering out plans for the hospital to the flexibility of staff in assimilating new information, daily. She also appreciates the patience and humor of her colleagues and friends.
Crisis can also bring progress. She believes COVID-19 highlights the importance of innovation in microbiology and infectious disease prevention, and the need to bring vaccines and medicines into development as quickly as possible. Crisis can also foster collaboration — not just at the hospital level, but also among other health care systems throughout Oregon and beyond.
This is why donations are so important and appreciated: It can go lots of places. “You have many ways to contribute: to the hospital and to the medical community. Your donation will have an impact — and we thank you,” Nolt said.