After icy roads compelled her to spend four nights in between her shifts at University Hospital sleeping on a couch in a hospital work room, Christine Moore, DO, decided to stay one more night. Her reason? Doing so would make donating blood the next morning even easier.
Dr. Moore, a second-year hematology/oncology fellow, was scheduled to work Feb. 14–18 at University Hospital on medicine service. But as she drove home on Feb. 14, the wheels on her Honda Civic began spinning on ice. She pulled into a restaurant parking lot, parked and started walking. She called her program director, who helped arrange a ride from UT Health San Antonio Police back to the hospital—and there she stayed for the next four days and five nights.
“It didn’t feel safe going home because it was too far away, and I knew I had work to do,” she said, explaining her decision to stay at the hospital.
“Even if the roads were decent, I kept thinking of how scary it was driving on ice,” she said. “I did not want to try to drive to the hospital, but I also knew if I was out someone else would have to cover for me.”
Dr. Moore slept on a couch in a work room at Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans’ Hospital after working 10-hour shifts Sunday through Thursday. She chose to see the bright side of her situation: She had power, food and a warm place to sleep. Her program director and others dropped off drinks and snacks, and other colleagues brought clothes.
“There were all these people helping me out,” she said.
When the call went out for blood platelet donations before her final shift, Dr. Moore opted to stay put so she could donate first thing in the morning before heading home.
“I said, ‘Might as well stay one more night,’” she recalled.
The experience of working in the hospital during the storm crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced her own resilience and that of health care professionals overall, she said.
“The other thing I took away was the joy I got from taking care of patients during that time, because I was in this world of ‘This is all I’m focused on. I’ve made a decision I’m not going to go home. But I can choose to do what I love and take care of patients and have a good time,’” she said.
After she returned home on Friday, Feb. 19, Moore enjoyed using her own shower and sleeping in her own bed.
“It was nice to sleep on that again,” she said.