Skip to content

Stories from the Field

It is an extraordinary time for our world, our nation and our state. We are honored to serve our community and to share some extraordinary moments of courage, compassion, inspiration, and generosity while we tackle the impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Your support is our secret superpower. Thank you!

Heroes of Hennepin Healthcare

caitlin eccles radtke hero photo

Caitlin Eccles Radtke, MD, Infectious Disease

“When this started, I made a decision to stop visiting my parents and my sister’s family for fear of spreading the virus. My sister has four kids (a four year old and almost 1-year-old triplets) and we’re all very close.
It’s hard to be isolated from family. One day I stopped by to drop some things off for my sister and my nephew asked if I could come in and play. I told him I wasn’t able to right now because I didn’t want to bring in any germs. He said, sadly, “Auntie Caits, maybe you can come and play when the virus is gone.”

Complete heartbreak.

We’re working so hard to protect patients and staff and the community as a whole. That mission keeps me going. But every now and then I have a moment where I stop and rest and consider what is happening, and I know there is an emotional side to this that we’ll be dealing with for a long time in the future.”


John Sylvester: Paramedic, Hennepin EMS

"I think my approach to being a paramedic has changed largely due to my own anxiety about the coronavirus. I feel like I have gone through what amounts to a grief process in the last few weeks. I have been angry about it, I have been anxious about it, and I have settled largely on acceptance.

As far as an impact on my family, I feel that with a newborn, there is an extra level of anxiety. It has been especially hard on our parents not being able to experience him like they had hoped. It is also obviously been difficult on my wife during her maternity leave, to be so isolated from her support structure outside of our immediate family.  In some ways, being able to come to work and have what amounts to a hands-on impact on our local response to the pandemic is easier than staying at home with a newborn and socially isolated."

Dr. Wyatt Hero Profile photo

Thomas Wyatt, MD: Medical Director, Emergency Department

“Putting on personal protective equipment is uncomfortable. It gets very warm and it makes it challenging to communicate. Masks, gowns and face shields can be barriers as you are working quickly to care for patients.  But when our team gathers together and we’re putting on our PPE, it fosters a sense of teamwork.  We game plan together and we look out for each other.

In many ways COVID-19 is presenting us with challenges we have never dealt with before. At the same time, seeing how people respond has been inspiring. Yes, we’ve seen very sick patients. But the professionalism and commitment I’ve seen shows that we are more than up for the challenge.”

laura miller at nurses station

Laura Miller, RN: Nurse Manager, Medical Intensive Care Unit

“The sense of isolation on the unit is hard to get used to.  Doors are closed.  Nurses have to take time to put on protective gear just to go in and see a patient. Patients are separated from their families. There are tragic stories of patients who are having end of life conversations over an iPad or on a phone because their families can’t be with them.

Sometimes we find ourselves asking if this will end.  Will we wake up from this nightmare.  But until then, we continue working to help our patients. We don’t complain. We pull together because that’s what we do.”

hennepin heroes ed group with masks and signs

The Superpower of Generosity

  • Over 150,000 of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as been donated including: surgical masks, N95s, homemade masks, face shields, gloves, medical hijabs and hand sanitizer.
  • Donations fully funded a Convalescent Plasma Study launched by Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute.
  • Thanks to in-kind and financial donations, healthcare staff have been nourished with snacks and food since March 23, keeping their spirits and bodies energized to last through this crisis.
  • Patient experience has also been enhanced during this time with Ipads and NICview for virtual visits for families with babies in the NICU.
  • Patient comfort bags offer supplies and activities for hospital inpatients isolated from visitors.
  • Cell phone chargers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and thermometers,  help staff provide care for patients, safely, outside of the hospital setting.
  • $42,530 raised during Firefighters for Healing two week $10K matching challenge April 27-May 8.

Why I Give

Ella Roether

Ella Roether, 15 years old

My summer trip to Israel with United Synagogue Youth was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was an adventure I was really looking forward too. But it didn’t take long to realize there was another purpose for the money I saved. I was watching the news one day and was struck by how little our healthcare workers were being supported for their dedication during this crisis. There was an image of a parade of protesters, angry about being told to stay home, being blocked by doctors and nurses. It was such a powerful photograph and really moved me.

I realized how fortunate I was to be able to stay at home, safely with my family, while healthcare workers were isolating from their own children and risking their lives to take care of others. After talking with my uncle, who works at Hennepin Healthcare, I become even more passionate about supporting Hennepin Heroes. Knowing that Hennepin Healthcare’s mission is to serve everyone, even those undocumented or without financial resources is awesome.

The healthcare workers at Hennepin Healthcare are working so incredibly hard. They should know there are a lot of people out here supporting them, loving them, and grateful for what they are doing. That is why I give.

input search string and hit enter