Unprecedented times.

This is a phrase that has been uttered millions of times over the course of the last few months and has become a catchphrase to summarize the global situation in which we have found ourselves. Unprecedented - having no equivalent.

There is no sure fire way to prepare a country for such an unknown the likes of which we have not seen in a century. Every area of “normal” life has been impacted, from how we buy our groceries, to how and IF we go to work. Marshall Medical Centers, like every entity in the country, has been deeply affected by this pandemic. COVID-19 has changed how our everyday operations and patient interactions are performed and has for a time caused many departments to come to an abrupt halt. Although many departments have been limited as to what services they have been permitted to offer in the last several months, that, of course, doesn’t mean the need for a hospital has lessened. On the contrary, the opposite is true.

The Marshall Cancer Care Center has not been able to slow down, and the focus on providing excellent oncological care has not diminished during this time of great uncertainty. While some of the processes for getting in and out of the building might look a little different than in the past, the good work they are known for is still getting done and patients continue to receive life-saving treatments and procedures.

An important aspect of the Marshall Cancer Care Center that has been greatly missed during the pandemic is volunteers. Marshall Medical is blessed with dozens of community members who give of their time to serve patients who are undergoing cancer treatments. This may involve bringing a chemo patient a warm blanket, a glass of water, a snack or just a friendly face to make their day a little brighter. In response to COVID-19, Marshall Medical was forced to temporarily suspend volunteer activities for the safety of both the volunteers and the patients. This unfortunately left a gap in the usual day-to-day operations at the facility.

Enter certified athletic trainers Beth Bradford and Dakota Whaley, who stepped off the sports field and into the healthcare arena to help fight the coronavirus battle.

Beth Bradford, Marshall Medical’s certified athletic trainer assigned to Douglas High School, switched hats from tending students’ sports injuries to checking the temperature of anyone entering the Cancer Care Center.

“We had a job to do and we were thankful we could get it done,” she said.

Bradford was encouraged daily by the kindness, strength and determination of the patients she met during each shift. One heartwarming encounter came after a patient noticed she liked to sketch in between patients while she sat near the entranceway.

“On the next appointment day, this sweet person brought me a book and pencils for drawing,” she recalled.

Whaley, the trainer at Marshall Christian and Asbury High schools, took on the role of Chemo Medical Assistant during her time at the Cancer Center. She helped with oxygen, clean-up and laundry, as well as being a friendly, albeit masked, face in a potentially gloomy situation. The kindness she shared fit right in with the atmosphere the staff and volunteers are known for at the Cancer Center.

“One day I remember escorting a patient on the elevator and they told me how thankful they were that they were ‘a name and not a number’ here.”

Marshall Medical is thankful to the women and men who were willing to take on roles out of their usual wheelhouse to serve patients and their community during these ‘unprecedented times.’

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