Honoring ArkLaTex women during Women’s History Month
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - For years women have broken barriers, battled discrimination, and defended their freedoms, which has forever impacted the framework of our country’s history.
These influential women can be found all over the globe, but during Women’s History Month, KSLA News 12′s Adria Goins will be highlighting women in the ArkLaTex who have recently made history. They’ve been fighting the same war on different battlegrounds, trying to keep neighbors, families, and strangers safe from a deadly virus.
One of those women is Dr. Jacquelyn Bowers, who runs the emergency room at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport. She admitted the department is feeling the effects of the two-year fight on the frontlines of COVID-19.
The ER staff has been stretched thin, much like every other hospital or clinic in the country. Many of these nurses and doctors are suffering from mental exhaustion, illness, or simply leaving health care altogether. Bowers has watched the weight of the pandemic’s pressures land heavy on the shoulders of her team.
“I have never seen anything like this,” she said. “It is absolutely phenomenal and what we expected to pass within six months to a year has not.”
She said the department and the emergency room she runs started to feel overwhelmed the instant COVID-19 hit the community.
“Naturally when you have an emergency you go to the emergency room, so everyone was coming. Word was not out. We didn’t really have time to educate, don’t come to the ER. Go to the clinics, to go to these testing centers. We didn’t have testing centers up. It was a grassroots effort within the community, within each hospital, to really come together.”
“We literally converted hallways and placed wooden panels with negative pressure rooms, set up within 48 hours, throughout the hospital. We set up a testing center. Then we set up more testing centers.”
Dr. Bowers said there were no additional people the department could pullover from other parts of the hospital or clinics to help when they were consumed with patients.
“I think one of the most difficult things emotionally was seeing patients that would come in talking, that might end up coding in front of you, that you couldn’t save and their families could not come back,” she said. “That was absolutely the most difficult. And then your friends and your family, they’re suffering from it. But you’ve got to stay on your game. You do what you have to do.”
In the weeks that followed the first confirmed cases in the Arklatex, Dr. Bowers’s emergency room was flooded with patients, but they have recently seen the number of cases slowly decline.
The images her team experienced during the past two years will be ones she said they will live with forever.
“We just kept going. I think there will be a lot of needing to regroup. We just haven’t had time to do so.” Dr. Bowers went on to say even with the struggles and sacrifices, being a part of the solution to this devastating virus has been her highest calling. “It’s been such an honor and privilege to work alongside this team. I’m so proud of them. I’m so proud of what’s been accomplished, and I take a lot of pride in what we’re doing despite all the hurdles.”
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