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Respiratory therapist blessed to treat others during pandemic

RT feels blessed to help people during pandemic
Posted at 8:14 AM, Oct 29, 2021

Christopher Smith said tough conversations took place between he and his wife at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I told her that in the time when we are called to do God's work and called to do the things that we have been blessed to learn how to do them, we can't shy away from that when the hard days knock on the door," Smith said. "There were some hard conversations that were head, but we both understood that I was blessed and privileged to be put in this situation to help others."

Smith showed up to work every day as a Respiratory Therapist, knowing the risks, but also knowing the need.

"It's hard, still today, for people who don't see what we see and do what we do to understand the levity of what happens in the doors of the hospital," Smith said. "We talk about these patients that are sick when we refer to them as "these patients" they are our family members. I always refer to them as my uncle or my aunt and it's our community."

Smith and his family eventually tested positive for Covid. He said they fared well and as soon as he could he back at work.

"That has been one of the most rewarding things about what I do for my community every day," Smith said. "That's what keeps me going forward, to see the good that we do for people."

Dr. Frank Courmier, medical director at Our Lady of Lourdes for pulmonary critical care services, said without RTs like Chris, he does not know how they could have gotten through the worst of the pandemic.

"Their contribution to managing these ventilators is priceless," Smith said. "Physicians sometimes lean on RTs, heavily, on how to respond on certain alarms and what to do when the patient isn't able to do well on the ventilator on how to change those settings and get them comfortable on the ventilator. They're an extremely valuable resource and we're very grateful to work with their level of experience and what they bring."

While this career path is not an easy one, the last two years a true test of dedication, Smith said it was all worth it.

"I think that has been one of the most rewarding things about what I do for my community every day and what keeps me going forward is being able to see the good that we've done for people"