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Real time M*A*S*H

I remember watching M*A*S*H when I was young, as a stall technique to sit with my parents a few extra minutes before being tucked in. It was the first shows that opened my eyes to wanting a career as a healthcare professional. Thirty-some years later, I never imagined we’d have a “M*A*S*H-like" field hospital set up right here, in our backyard, at our local hospital.

During yesterdays press conference, Govenor Northam issued a stay-at-home order as well as commended three healthcare systems in Virginia who have quickly set up full functioning field hospitals. Mary Washington Hospital, in Fredericksburg, was one of the three.

The classic television series "M*A*S*H" offered a comic take on war but the show's main characters routinely faced real crises in the field. Crazy part is nothing’s changed. The issues were facing right now, interestingly (even today) M*A*S*H had a solution.

  • Toilet Paper Shortage: The entire crew tries to figure out how to deal with a toilet paper shortage.

  • Social Distancing: Lt. Col. Henry Blake and Cpl. Radar O'Reilly offer a guide to social distancing.

  • Washing your Hands: Maj. Frank Burns offers outstanding advice on how to wash your hands.

  • Don’t touch your face: Maj. Margaret Houlihan is not going to let Maj. Charles Winchester get away with touching his face before operating on a patient.

  • Working from Home: Capt. Hawkeye Pierce gives Father Francis Mulcahy some invaluable advice about working from home.

We’re all trying to adjust to this “new norm” and want to encourage everyone to give yourself some grace as we all do our best to navigate through these uncharted territories. Together we will get through this crisis. It is times like these that bring out the best in us. Stay home, wash your hands often, sanitize the surfaces you touch, and practice social distancing. Call and check in with your family, friends and neighbors. Help those who need help and for all of us who are, “huggers,” don’t lose sight of the day when we can share a hug again. It will happen.


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