May 22, 2020

Scenes from the pandemic, collection three: glimpses into life during COVID-19 at Vanderbilt

As Vanderbilt continues to care for COVID-19 patients, other care, including clinic visits and elective surgeries, begin again.

Erin Vergeson and her son, William prior to William having surgery at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Photos by Donn Jones/Vanderbilt University Medical Center

As VUMC again started scheduling elective surgery, more patients returned to hospitals and clinics. Erin Vergeson was at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt with her son, William, before his surgery in early May. Photo by Donn Jones

While some new COVID-19 cases continue to be admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, by using measures such as masking, temperature checks and social distancing, the Medical Center is again performing elective surgeries and other procedures and is also seeing some patients in the clinics. This careful and safe transition is a new phase in VUMC’s reaction to the pandemic.

VUMC’s photography team of Susan Urmy, Donn Jones and Erin O. Smith continue to open windows into what this time looks like at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and this is the third collection of photograph published by VUMC Voice.

Here is a selection of photographs taken in the past weeks that give a few glimpses into what the COVID-19 pandemic has looked like at Vanderbilt. Some have been previously published with other stories, and some are seen here for the first time.

The first collection of photos is here.

The second collection of photos is here.

Coverage of COVID-19 from the VUMC Reporter is here.

Features about COVID-19 from VUMC Voice are here.

The dedicated COVID-19 site for employees is here.

More adult patients were also returning to VUMC. Leora Horn, MD, Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, was in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Infusion Clinic with patient Mark Stevens on May 13. Photo by Susan Urmy

Many patients continued to benefit from innovative uses of telehealth. Madeline Vulanich, MS, a speech pathologist in Hearing and Speech Sciences, participates in a live sing-along session for all families and children enrolled in the Bill Wilkerson Center’s Preschool for Children with Autism. The sing-along was part of the school’s virtual curriculum. About 10 students participated in the event. In addition to the sing-along, the school has hosted other virtual classes including small groups of circle time and individual therapy sessions. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Mary Richardson of Guest Services in Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital provides information to patients in mid-May as VUMC added back elective procedures and clinic visits. Photo by Susan Urmy
The main COVID-19 treatment unit in Medical Center East continued to treat dozens of patients through April and the first half of May. Teamwork in the face of a difficult and changing circumstance, all to benefit the patient, is a hallmark of the COVID unit. Photo courtesy Neil Stinson, RN, a nurse on the unit. To read a profile of his work, go here.
One of the many stories from VUMC’s care for COVID patients and their families was that of nurse Maddie Hayes, who held an iPad and provided touch to patient Frank Rummo as his family said their last words to him. Photo by Donn Jones. To read a story about her extraordinary care for a dying patient and his family, go here.
Even as more patients return to the Medical Center campus, the atmosphere is still noticeably quieter, including at the performance stage and Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Photo by Donn Jones
Another major change was that, for the first time, a quarterly Leadership Assembly was recorded and streamed online to reach the many VUMC employees working from home and to help promote social distancing. From left, host and former NBC anchor John Seigenthaler interviews Jeffrey R. Balser, MD, PhD., President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Wright Pinson, MD, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, during the recording of the assembly in Langford Auditorium. Photo by Erin O. Smith. To see the Leadership Assembly, go here.
In the midst of dealing with changes brought by COVID-19, employees and clinicians at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital (VWCH), including Modupe Kehinde, MD, moved ahead with the implementation of the Epic clinical software to bring the hospital, which became part of VUMC last year, into the same information infrastructure as the rest of Vanderbilt. Photo by Susan Urmy. To read a story about the VWCH Epic go-live, go here.
The drive to keep everyone safe was evident in many aspects, as outlined by this sign in The Vanderbilt Clinic. Photo by Susan Urmy.
Signs help keep visitors, patients and employees safe all over VUMC. Photo by Donn Jones
Of course, cleanliness has always been vital at VUMC, but even more so now. Korenna Malone, Patient Care Tech, cleans equipment in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Infusion Clinic.
Photo by Susan Urmy
As part of her job keeping patients, families and employees safe, Lakeshia Fletcher wipes down tables and cleans the floor in the food court at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Photo by Donn Jones
Asnka Wassie, a parking services representative with VUMC Parking and Transportation Services, cleans one of the VUMC shuttles at a shuttle storage location off of Glenrose Avenue in Nashville.  Shuttles are cleaned frequently to protect riders, and workers were even moved from other areas to help with cleaning the shuttles. In addition to more frequent deep cleans, the capacity of the shuttles has been cut in half to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Support from the community took many forms, including flyovers in honor of health care workers from both the Tennessee National Guard on May 12…


…and the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps elite squadron. The Blue Angels flew over Middle Tennessee on Thursday, May 14, as part of their salute to health care workers, first responders and other essential workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Photo of the Tennessee National Guard flyover by Donn Jones, photo of Blue Angels flyover by Erin O. Smith
Patient Lori Widmar, second from left, was met by several people from the kidney transplant program to accept her donation of masks, including Sofiya Stasiv, RN, Joshua Smith, Care Partner, Heidi Schaefer, MD, and Denise Gonzalez, RN. Photo by Susan Urmy. To read a story about Widmar’s donation, go here.
As a show of support from the Nashville Predators, mascot Gnash the saber-tooth tiger, properly attired in his face mask, greeted VUMC employees as they came to work. Here Sim Birdsong, RN, grabs a quick selfie with the fierce prehistoric feline. Photo by Donn Jones.
Another indication of support from the Preds is the “We Stand with You” banner in front of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. Similar banners were also hung in front of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital. Photo by Erin O. Smith
Sign in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s Infusion Clinic. Photo by Susan Urmy