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Ranken Jordan keeping coronavirus away from fragile children

Nearly half of all patients at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital are already on a ventilator

CREVE COEUR, Mo. — At Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, patients were at-risk long before the pandemic.

"We take care of kids after serious accidents," explained Dr. Nick Holekamp, Ranken's Chief Medical Officer. "Head injuries, spinal cord injuries. All sorts of trauma."

Almost half the kids here were already on a ventilator.

"There are no additional ventilators available for our use, so we're sort of at the number of ventilators we're at currently and we'll have to see how that supply evolves over time," Dr. Holekamp said.

Every person who now enters the hospital, including the staff, gets their temperature taken and gets asked about any symptoms.

"Just to make sure they're not exposed to having the virus," he told us. "I'm wearing my 'I've been screened' sticker for today."

Under normal circumstances, the hospital relies heavily on volunteers but right now there is a "no volunteer policy", and the nurses and therapists all wear masks.

"But we still have to be hands-on with the kids," Dr. Holekamp said. "The nurses, the respiratory therapists, the physical and occupational therapists as they would under normal conditions."

In an open letter on Ranken Jordan's website, Dr. Holekamp reminded all of us, "You could save countless lives simply by staying home."

And so far so good. Staying at home has helped the virus stay out of the hospital.

"And that's what I think is the silver lining in all this," he said. "It's bringing people together."

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