Hijinio Carreon, D.O.’03, chief medical officer of MercyOne Central Iowa, has been working 16-hour days, plus additional late-night email messages, phone calls and weekend shifts in the emergency department. Jason Kruse, D.O.’11, an internal medicine physician at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, experienced a “nerve-wracking” two days in March waiting for his COVID-19 test results after treating a feverish patient before protective personal equipment protocols were established; he’s continued to work in Broadlawns’ clinic and hospital after his results came back negative for the coronavirus.
These DMU graduates were among 11 individuals featured as “Heroes of Hope” in an article in the July/August 2020 issue of dsm magazine, Central Iowa’s journal of local arts, culture and social issues.
“They’ve treated the sick. They’ve housed the homeless. They’ve fed the hungry. They’ve opened their doors to anyone and everyone who need help,” stated author Rachel Vogel Quinn. “Most of all, they’ve planned, preparing us for what was coming. Without them, we couldn’t have survived.”
We couldn’t agree more, nor could we be more proud of and grateful to all Des Moines University alumni, students and employees who have worked selflessly on the front lines, behind the scenes and via virtual communications to serve patients, health organizations and communities.
The article described how Dr. Carreon “has worked to increase capacity for any potential surge in COVID-19 patients, coordinated with other health providers in the metro area, and researched the best treatment options for patients.” He described how relying on his wife and three daughters has kept him going.
Dr. Kruse has shifted almost all of his clinic work to telemedicine. In the hospital, like health care providers across the country, he has had to deal with limited testing, false negative test results and other challenges. But what keeps him up at night, the article stated, are “the real unknowns…whether there will be a surge in Iowa, whether hospitals could be overrun like in New York City, whether coronavirus will return later in the year.”
Persevering amid pandemic challenges, real risks and those unknowns are what make health care professionals like these two alumni truly heroic. Dr. Kruse pledged in the article that no matter what happens, he will “keep going into work every day, as he has always done: ‘This is what I’ve trained to do.’”
You can read about many other “heroes of hope” and share your own experience during the pandemic on DMU’s COVID-19 website.