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Humans of Healthcare: Ross Grauf

3:52 PM · Nov 5, 2021

Ross Grauf says Respiratory Therapists are not easily identified in the hospital but they are present everywhere from the Intensive Care Unit to baby deliveries to the Emergency Department. He’s been working as an RT for five years, all of them at Mercy Hospital. “I’ve lived here since I was born and this brings in a lot of people you know, and a lot of people you don’t know, but you get to know them. This illness keeps people in there for a good chunk of time and you become heavily invested in getting them to their family and preserving a normal life. I still definitely love what I do and I think that helps make things feel a little better. “Healthcare as a whole is interdisciplinary work. With respiratory care, one of the things you tend to find is it tends to be a big thing you don’t always know is there. Respiratory care is sort of like an insurance policy. You hope you don’t need it, but it’s there when you do. We go to everything. We’re not in one part of the hospital. You can start your shift running ventilators in the Intensive Care Unit, but you may have to run to the Emergency Department for an emergency there, or run to an emergency elsewhere. There are other times you may have to stop what you’re doing and go to deliveries for respiratory or cardiac arrest. “Not just for respiratory therapists, but for many of us, you see in the news all the numbers -- this many new diagnoses and this many died -- but you don’t hear about the people who recovered. We’ve had people on the very brink and we’ve gotten them back and they are going home to their families permanently. We’re all heavily invested in everyone’s care and celebrating their triumphs. That’s been the most encouraging thing; Watching them get better and go home. We’re also there to mourn the loss with the families. There’s many of them that you feel just as much as the family. “I started out my career in the hospital doing acute care, then I took the opportunity to build an outpatient program to improve lives of patients with debilitating illnesses and improve quality of life so they will spend less time in a hospital. It reduces readmissions, but we had to close that particular program but I'm hopeful we will rebuild it again. The job in critical care has changed drastically. Covid is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason. There are always hard days in healthcare, but with Covid, there are so many more. It’s been great to see everyone band together to serve the community. The community needs to know each and every one of us is just as invested as they are in making them get better. Hopefully they don’t have to experience the horrors of this Covid and go home to their families.”