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Sidewalk notes bring smiles to hospital staff

  • This March 26 image from video shows a message written in chalk that says, “If you’re leaving, thank you, rest well,” on a sidewalk at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. AP PHOTO

Associated Press
Published: 4/5/2020 7:11:52 PM

NEW ORLEANS — The messenger is anonymous — but the messages are heartfelt, and appreciated.

In recent days, workers at Ochsner Medical Center who take the familiar stroll from the parking lot to the main entrance have been greeted with expressions of gratitude from an unnamed artist, sketched out on the sidewalk.

“If you’re just arriving, thank you for what you’re about to do,” says one.

And a little further along: “You are extraordinary.”

And for those finishing their shifts: “If you are leaving, thank you … Rest well.”

The hospital workers have been under strain. The region has been hard hit by the coronavirus, so much so that the state’s governor said earlier this week it might run out of breathing machines by the weekend and hospital beds next week.

Ochsner, one of the largest hospitals in the area, has been so overwhelmed that regular patient rooms have been converted into ICU-like wards to accommodate the surge in patients.

Someone has taken note, and has reached out in chalk to tell Ochsner staffers that they are appreciated, The message has been received, loud and clear.

“It definitely meant a lot to me and was a surprise, a colorful surprise, walking out and going home to go to bed after a long shift,” said first-year resident Leslie Miller, who works in the hospital’s pediatric care unit.

Miller said hospital employees are used to dealing with heightened stress but for many, the coronavirus has taken stress and anxiety to another level. The messages are a balm.

They “give us hope,” said lab technician Minerva Martin.




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