What a year! The last year has certainly been unlike any other in our lifetime. Hospitals have been operating during a pandemic for fifteen months. While it is not over, I pray that the worst is behind us, and we can begin to see the world and Alabama’s hospitals return to normal. What our hospitals and their staff members have achieved during this year of existential threats has been nothing short of remarkable, and that is why this year’s Hospital Week and Nurses Week matter so much.
It is ironic that coinciding with both celebrations is the 100th anniversary of the Alabama Hospital Association, AlaHA, which was founded just a few years after the end of the Spanish influenza pandemic that claimed an estimated 50 million lives worldwide. The recent work of hospitals in collaborating to share resources, beds, equipment, and best practices highlights the wisdom of the Association’s founders. The strong relationships among Alabama’s hospitals greatly facilitated our ability to respond to this once in a lifetime event.
To commemorate the occasion, AlaHA is sending small oak trees to hospitals across the state to plant on their campuses. These trees will symbolize the strength of our hospitals and recognize the canopy of care they provided to their communities during the pandemic. After the pandemic has passed, Alabama’s hospitals will continue to care for our citizens for decades to come.
Over the next few days as we celebrate Hospital Week and Nurses Week, let us all say a prayer and offer our heartfelt thanks to the incredible men and women who work in Alabama’s hospitals and who have made healing their life’s calling, in ordinary times and extraordinary times.
Donald E. Williamson, M.D., President