By Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health
I find myself wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic will be viewed 100 years from now. What records will survive? How will our actions and reactions be judged by people who have the benefit of historical perspective?
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we had more questions than answers. When was it going to hit Arkansas? Did we have enough protective equipment for our employees and patients? What changes were we going to have to make in order for the system to survive?
The optimist in me thought we might be through the worst of it by July. But as more information became available, we saw that we might be in for the long haul. We took quick action to address the impending storm back in March and April of last year, and I’m incredibly proud of how our team has responded to all of the unknowns. By making some tough decisions early on, we were able to navigate the uncertainties and continue to provide vital services throughout the pandemic.
We aren’t out of the woods yet, and we will have to continue to make decisions based on the best information available.
Making decisions in the middle of a crisis is like driving behind a giant 18-wheeler. You can try to anticipate what might be ahead, but you won’t see some of the hazards until they are right in front of you.
It’s easy to look back at events during our 100-year history and see them in a larger context—to be the Monday-morning quarterback who knows what “should” or “could” have been done. But I have a greater appreciation for our system’s leaders who had to respond to any number of crises created by sudden upheavals.
Faith has sustained Baptist Health through all of the challenges—faith to stay the course during the early days when our finances were unstable, faith to grow and expand our services into new areas, faith in our employees and their abilities to heal, and faith that we can find a way to carry on and be a vital part of our community no matter what.
I hope our future leaders look back on this time, when they have the luxury of perspective, and feel the same pride for what we have been able to accomplish under very difficult circumstances.