Texarkana doctor leads team, experiences life-changing moment during pandemic
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - This month KSLA is dedicated to celebrating ArkLaTex women for Women’s History Month. We are recognizing many of the outstanding ladies in our community who went above and beyond during the pandemic to keep our community safe.
One of those women was Dr. Loren Robinson, the chief medical officer at CHRISTUS St. Michael in Texarkana, Texas. She was tasked with converting the hospital into one of the area’s first vaccine hubs and did so while going through her own life-changing moment.
“I think health care workers in this country and in this community - specifically here at Christus St. Michael - are the reason that any of us are here today,” she said.
Dr. Robinson witnessed firsthand the transformation from a quiet hospital to a chaotic one, admitting she did not expect what came next.
“It’s hard for me to say I’m wrong sometimes but I was surprised that it came to Texarkana. I think I didn’t realize how quickly the virus would spread. Then the immense impact. I never thought that it would impact our daily lives as much. That it would change so many things. think we were brave, and we showed courage. And I think showing courage in the face of the unknown is probably what has helped sustain us.”
Robinson moved to the ArkLaTex only months before the pandemic hit, after she was named the chief medical officer and vice president for medical affairs at the hospital. Shortly after, Christus St. Michael became one of the first few vaccination hubs for the state of Texas.
She spoke with KSLA News 12 This Morning shortly after finding out and said she would be monitoring the process every step of the way. She was alongside the delivery workers as they wheeled in the first 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine inside the hospital. The medicine was some of the first shots officially released to the public, going into the arms of health care workers and those eligible for the first phase of vaccines. The doctor said after the virus hit the area there were growing concerns about those who were already infected.
“The hardest part was figuring out how do we best take care of our COVID-19 patients? How do we show them grace and mercies that we can treat them appropriately, making sure they can see their family members and their loved ones. Then we have to keep our associates safe. As we’re trying to figure out how this virus works, who it impacts, what’s the best way to keep everyone who works in the hospital safe.”
She says her biggest worry, however, was about her own health and that of her unborn child. She found out in the middle of the pandemic she was expecting her second child.
“I think God’s grace saw me and my family through, but I think becoming pregnant and then being pregnant during the pandemic, giving birth and then worrying about a newborn in the face of COVID-19 - what would that look like - was trying,” Robinson said. “I think I was really worried because I didn’t know how contagious this virus was and what would happen to my child if he got sick. What would happen if I got sick and was unable to take care of him.”
Thankfully her pregnancy and delivery went smoothly, and her little boy is doing well. Robinson said she owes a lot of that to people who helped keep the community safe and healthy.
“I’m very proud of what we as a health care industry and as a health care family were able to do. To be persistent and to persevere and get through the pandemic.”
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