he pandemic of 2020 along with the two hurricanes put the tenacity and perseverance of Southwest Louisiana to the test.
“We’re proud to say we continuously provided exceptional healthcare services to our community throughout this trying year,” says Janie Fruge’, chief executive officer of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH).
When COVID-19 became a reality in the community, WCCH responded quickly and efficiently. “As we all in the medical community learned more about this novel virus, we made necessary adjustments and continued to focus on patient care as well as employee safety,” explains Fruge’. “Navigating through the COVID-19 crisis has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced. Our mission of providing exceptional care never wavered as we implemented additional procedures to keep our patients, employees and community as healthy as possible.”
When the hurricanes struck within six weeks of each other, WCCH remained open and operational. “Leaders show up when there’s a crisis,” says Ben Darby, MD, FACOG, obstetrician and gynecologist with OBG-1 of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Janie put herself on the line. She did everything. She was on the front lines, rounding day and night, seeing what people needed.”
WCCH regularly participates in hurricane preparedness planning and Fruge’ credits that, along with lessons learned during Hurricane Rita in 2005, for helping employees know what to expect. “Having them execute the plans and training we’ve put in place really was a beautiful thing for me to see as their leader. I feel very honored, humbled and privileged to be on this team,” she says.
“The generous spirit of our community was evident as businesses, industry partners and individuals stepped up in many ways; by ensuring our team had the necessary personal protective equipment and other medical supplies needed to navigate through COVID-19. And, again after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, by handling infrastructure repairs so we could remain operational and provide uninterrupted patient care when our community needed it most,” explains Fruge’.
WCCH and the West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Foundation launched a community-wide thank you campaign in late 2020 in appreciation of the many businesses and individuals who showed overwhelming support and generosity during the pandemic and hurricanes. “We needed to reach out to our community and let them know how much we appreciated and felt their support,” she says. “As a community hospital, we are committed to providing care to those within our service district and being a good healthcare partner along with the rest of the hospitals, physicians and healthcare providers in Southwest Louisiana.”