Beth Keehn

Beth Jumps in to Help Her Teammates During COVID-19

Dec 17 2021

Across the country, health care workers have stepped up to ensure those who have fallen ill as a result of COVID-19 are given the best care possible. Mercy Health thanks and sincerely appreciates all our team members for doing the same.

At Mercy Health, our mission is to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved. It is a calling we feel throughout our ministry at every level.

Beth Keehn, director of community and government affairs for Mercy Health – Lima, was so moved by the number of COVID-19 patients that required care within the walls of Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center that she jumped in one day to help out as a patient sitter.

Read her firsthand thoughts on this experience here:

My incredible clinical colleagues have been at this for nearly two years and have cared for thousands of patients. But for me, a community and government affairs professional … this is work I never dreamed I would be doing. However, in this moment, what my community needs from me most is to don the scrubs and do whatever I can for those who need us most.

As a patient sitter, I sat in a room with a patient who needed me to keep him from pulling out his oxygen. I also helped him to the bathroom, adjusted him to make him comfortable and kept him from trying to get up and falling.

I am certain that the middle-aged, healthy-as-a-horse guy I sat with all night never dreamed this would be him. I’m sure he thought this would be just like the flu. Regardless, I held his hands as he spoke about his life. It was mostly jumbled and nonsensical, but I tried to be a good listener and engage when I could. I tried to assure him he would be OK and that we were doing everything we could to help him. And when he got very scared and confused and tried to pull out his oxygen, I had to convince him to let it be, sometimes more successfully than others. I may never know what happens to this very sick man — I hope in a few days or weeks he can turn a corner. But I promise you, his experience is not something I wish on anyone.

I don’t need to argue or try to convince if you have staunchly decided. But if you are someone who has been on the fence about the COVID-19 vaccination, maybe this will help tilt the scales. People like me —who have degrees in journalism, economics and business — are being called to the bedside. This is as real as it gets.

Please take care of yourself, your loved ones and your community.

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Hear from some of our providers about their thoughts.

Also, learn about the health care services we offer at Mercy Health.

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Jon Fishpaw

I have worked with Beth for several years and her thoughtful action is indicative of a selfless colleague. She has brought Advocacy to another level for our patients and their families the Lima community.
January 03rd, 2022 | 8:43am

Ann Turnwald

Very nice article from Beth Keene. Appreciate this article on the value of being a sitter, esp for those of us who do not possess the clinical skills to provide higher level of care for patients. Thank you:-)
January 04th, 2022 | 1:16pm

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