Mailbag: Thank you to our Hoag staff, who successfully treated state’s first documented COVID-19 case


We want to express how proud we are of all our colleagues at Hoag Hospital.

Our team has been working tirelessly — and under extremely stressful and challenging circumstances — and we continue to provide the same compassionate and high-quality care for the Orange County community during the COVID-19 pandemic as we have always provided.

It was not widely known at the time, but back in January the Orange County Health Care Agency selected Hoag to care for California’s first COVID-19 patient, who has since fully recovered.

OCHCA chose us for a simple reason: We were prepared. We were ready to provide comprehensive, lifesaving care for that first patient — and we remain prepared now.


But as we provide top-tier care for our COVID-19 patients, we cannot emphasize enough that Hoag’s facilities are safe, orderly and well-prepared to provide exceptional emergency care for all patients.

Sheltering in place does not apply to those with potentially life-threatening medical conditions, such as strokes and heart attacks, and we stand ready and able to safely care for anyone who comes through our doors.

Since our very first COVID-19 patient, our command center has meticulously tracked the number of available beds, ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), pharmaceuticals and more, on a daily basis.

Keeping a close accounting of all available resources — including the human ones, the remarkable men and women of Hoag who provide such skilled and compassionate care — ensures that we are prepared if and when a surge arrives here in our community.

Hoag’s readiness during the COVID-19 pandemic includes daily communication with OCHCA authorities in order to stay abreast of rapidly evolving best practices. This guidance allows us to ensure that we are keeping our patients and our healthcare workers safe as we face this challenge.

Our mission — to provide the highest-quality healthcare to the communities we serve — manifests itself in innumerable ways. For example, Hoag is one of very few hospitals selected as a clinical trial site for Remdesivir, a possible therapeutic option for COVID-19.

We are also among the first hospitals to obtain Food and Drug Administration permission to use convalescent plasma in critically ill COVID-19 patients. As new testing and treatment options are deployed in the fight against COVID-19, we will deliver on our promise to make them available to our community.

Our passion, and our ability, to dare is made possible by the extraordinary men and women who belong to what we call the “Hoag family.”

We take extra steps to make sure they are physically and emotionally healthy — from employee health clinics for staff and their families, to quality childcare, and with a deeply ingrained culture of esprit de corps.

This in turn permeates the care they provide our patients, and the touching interactions and genuine affinity that develop between staff and patients.

This powerful phenomenon was on full display this past Monday as members of our staff watched proudly — and with more than a few tears of happiness — as a married couple in their 90s left Hoag after being successfully treated for COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we couldn’t be prouder of our staff’s commitment to confront this public health crisis rationally, proactively and skillfully, united in a common goal of providing the best care possible to our community.

Hoag pride runs deep, and it makes a difference.

Robert T. Braithwaite
President & CEO, Hoag Hospital

Michael B. Hurwitz, M.D.
Chief of Staff, Hoag

George H. Wood
Chairman, Hoag board of directors

Respond to friends who live alone

I’d like to remind my married friends that when you receive a text, an email or see a Facebook post from a single neighbor or relative, try to reply in a timely manner.

Sometimes a simple yes or no is all it takes. Other times, a sentence or two is necessary. Either way, your response is one more way we all can remain connected in these trying times.

If everyone does his or her part, then making lemonade out of lemons will be one of the easiest things we do during this unprecedented, national health crisis.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach