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Talilotu Carlson: A story of courage, compassion, and dedicated teamwork

A letter to our amazing team at Maui Health

Talilotu Carlson: A story of courage, compassion, and dedicated teamwork

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Since our first COVID patient admitted to MMMC on March 28, you have all been steadfast in your dedication to quality patient care while learning new protocols and making the changes to each of your workflows that have been required along this very challenging journey - jumping in with both feet to help without even being asked. We have witnessed the most incredible acts of courage, commitment and compassion. It has been tough to say the least, and sometimes hard days may seem to outnumber the good days. But because of the work that you do, there are still so many incredible things happening in our hospitals. Yesterday, was one of those shining moments.

Single mother of three children, Talilotu Carlson, came to our Emergency Room on March 30 with COVID-19 and was immediately admitted for breathing problems. Not more than 48 hours later, she was intubated and remained on a ventilator in a medically induced coma for two weeks. During that time, her children were unable to see her or talk to her. Without hesitation, our team jumped in to support her family. Our Case Management team kept in constant contact with her oldest son, who became the primary caregiver to his two younger sisters. When he started feeling ill, our case management team reached out to engage help. Staff from Infection Control, ED, Admitting and many other areas helped expedite the testing at our ED for all three of her children. Some of our providers made calls to the local clinics close to their Lahaina home to have doctors check up on them. Our Chaplain team held prayers outside her room for her family. The frontline ICU team kept in contact with her son and provided him updates during some of the most critical days. Financial Assistance helped to make arrangements for her copay so that her and her son, who are currently laid off from the hospitality industry, did not have to worry about making any immediate payments. When her son needed to get something from her purse to file unemployment, security, social workers, and our nursing teams helped make sure it was ready for him at valet when he arrived. Our Social Work team also made calls out into the community to help get extra support for her family. As she recovered, she was taken care of by a few different units – all of whom took amazing care of her, kept in touch her children, and made her a part of their family as she was forced to be away from hers. Before she was discharged, our Diabetes Coordinator spent time teaching her son about how to support his mom at home. Now recovering at home, our team has helped set up Talilotu with nurses who will check up on her at home along with in-home physical therapy. And how can we forget the wonderful sendoff that took place yesterday, after 36 days in the hospital – a group effort coordinated by Care Experience, Nursing Administration and many, many others who spread the word and came out in the hallways in support. It was a moment of joyous tears – a moment that would not have happened without all of you! So many hands and hearts cared for her and her family that it may be impossible to capture them all, but please know that you all played an important role in reuniting this mom with her children.

So when the days get hard, let’s look to these stories of inspiration, courage and compassion as reminder of why we do what we do. Thank you for your continued commitment to healing our patients, our community, and each other, through the incredible work you each do, every single day.