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caption: FILE: University of Washington Medical Center
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FILE: University of Washington Medical Center

It takes a lot of people to keep a hospital running

Voices of the pandemic features people in the Seattle area who are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr. Jeff Krimmel-Morrison is a chief resident in the internal medicine program at the University of Washington. He got a mild case of Covid-19, but has since recovered. When he returned to work, one of the things he was struck by is how many people are on the front lines every day in order to keep hospitals running.

I am so grateful for all of the outpouring of public support for health care providers in particular. I think that is it's been really wonderful.

But as a health care provider myself who gets to sort of see and appreciate a lot of that very directly, I can't help reflecting on a lot of the folks who aren't quite that, but who are still making tremendous sacrifices to help our hospitals run, helping to support our health care providers, and also just helping our society to run.

I have about a five-minute walk from the room where my temporary offices is, as I'm working these two weeks, to where the resident physicians sit and where most of the patients are in our hospital. And on that five-minute walk, I pass by so many people who are making this hospital run who aren't healthcare providers.

I pass by the security guard who is still working. I pass by the front desk people. I pass by the folks who are standing in at the front of the hospital, greeting visitors and helping to communicate the messages about staying safe in the time Covid and our no-visitor policy. The folks who are operating the coffee stands, and the food workers who are getting food to our patients and our employees.

It's remarkable. It's totally overwhelming, in fact, to try to think about all the people who make a hospital run. And health care providers are an important part of that, but we're just a small part of it.

Producer Alec Cowan composed music for this story.