Residents demonstrate grit to care for patients during winter storm

Members of family and community medicine stand in the snow on campus.

Residents and team leads in the Department of Family and Community Medicine displayed extraordinary resiliency and leadership taking care of patients and each other during the winter storms.

“As COVID has taught us, in every difficult situation for the health care community and the community at large, there is plenty of good to be found,” said Marcy Wiemers, MD, assistant clinical professor and Family and Community Medicine Residency associate program director. “I saw first-hand what we can expect from the future generation of physicians. Despite working long hours and sleeping in the hospital, on top of fatigue already felt from the pandemic, the resident physicians rose up to give back.”

Dr. Wiemers remarked that throughout the entirety of the frigid weather conditions, her team stepped up with dedication and compassion. They had to work with limited personnel and resources, and many had to adapt to constantly shifting roles to ensure teams were covered and to maintain care for patients at University Hospital. Residents facing their own personal issues from the storm, such as no heat or water at home and toddlers running out of milk, made arrangements to stay for extended hours to ensure their patients would be helped.

“The UT Health San Antonio Family and Community Medicine residency is truly a family that loves our community,” she said.

They also showed commendable team work and resourcefulness, Dr. Wiemers said. Miguel A. Palacios, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and associate clinic director of the Family Health Center, did not have to stay overnight like many in his team. His 4-wheel drive truck allowed him to drive to and from the hospital each day, which was fortunate since he was needed at home in the evenings to keep the fireplace going for his pregnant wife and two children, who were without power and water for nearly four days. His truck also made it possible for him provide rides for other residents who had been in the hospital more than 24 hours and were in desperate need to return to their homes and families.

“Like most that work in health care, we do the best we can to help, whatever the circumstance may be,” Dr. Palacios said. “That week’s events definitely put this to the test and demonstrated the level of perseverance and resilience that our providers and staff have for patient care.”

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