A Year of Reflection and a Look Ahead

As we begin 2021, we reflect on all that we accomplished and endured during the past year. Our strength, our resiliency, our commitment and our skills were tested in ways we never could have imagined, and we prevailed. It transformed us and we responded. We bent but we never broke, and I could not be more proud of the work we all did and the tremendous care we provided – together, better and stronger.

Members of the emergency department staff created this beautiful message of support for their team members in early 2020

“Unprecedented” and “generational” were common phrases used to describe the COVID-19 virus pandemic. It was something the likes of which we had not seen before. We donned our PPE and moved forward, always supporting our patients, our communities and each other. We mourned patient deaths, celebrated CODE HAPPYs, and through it all, we kept our focus. We innovated – transforming our physical space and processes – and we welcomed the love and support from our communities with food and mask donations, cards and letters of support, first responder parades in our honor, and wonderful messages from our Chalk Angels.

We also experienced our country’s social unrest. I will always carry with me the moving and emotional moment when our staff took a collective moment of silence in support of racial equality and justice. We took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of those who have died due to systemic racism.

Despite these past challenges, we enter the New Year with hope and optimism. The vaccine is here, and we are vaccinating employees and staff with speed and efficiency. We also had many other exciting moments to celebrate that will continue to support our communities.

A limited ribbon-cutting at the new Shields Surgery Center marked its completion

The new Shields Surgery Center at our Lawrence Memorial Hospital campus opened recently, with six successful ambulatory surgery cases including one ENT and five orthopedic procedures on the first day. We take great pride in being able to bring this modern facility and state-of-the-art services to the community as a joint venture between MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Shields Health Care, and some of the area’s most notable physicians, including from Tufts Medical Center.

Also last year, we began offering advanced procedures not previously seen in a community setting. Our orthopedic surgeons are providing same-day total knee replacement surgery, where patients who are appropriate for the procedure, arrive in the morning and are at home recovering in their own bed later that day. We are also one of the few to offer a rare orthopedic cartilage regeneration procedure called MACI.

Our surgical team achieved an impressive milestone having recently performed their 1,000th robotic surgery.  Robotic-assisted surgery uses small incisions, has a faster recovery time, and requires less pain relief. Our program began in 2018, and has now grown to one of the busiest robotic surgery programs in the region.

Adam Blau, MD, co-director of robotic surgery, recently told me “robotics are truly at the forefront of surgical technology, and MelroseWakefield Hospital is leading the way in community-based care.”

We continue to grow clinical services in collaboration with our peers at Tufts Medical Center, bringing care to our local communities with more complex procedures in cardiology, neurosurgery, breast cancer, and urology, to name a few.  And our extensive community network of primary care physicians and specialists continue to provide comprehensive care with humanity, dignity and respect. In 2020 our doctors quickly transitioned to telemedicine appointments to safely care for their patients’ needs and concerns at the onset of the pandemic.

The video below captures the spirit, dedication and resilience our staff have shown during 2020. Please take a few moments to enjoy it.

We are happy to see many aspects of 2020 go, but there is one thing that will remain. MelroseWakefield Healthcare will continue to serve the needs of our communities, through the end of this pandemic and beyond.

I wish you all a very safe, healthy and happiest New Year in 2021.