Melinda L. Estes, MD
President and CEO Saint Luke’s Health System
Chair, American Hospital Association Board of Trustees
It’s easy to see where one might have lost hope in the expansive tragedy that’s been 2020. Too often, the bad news has outweighed the good, leaving us feeling like the window of hope is quickly closing. But that’s simply not true. As a health care professional of more than 40 years, I can assure you there’s always an opening for hope. Because, as clinicians and caregivers, hope is exactly where we live every day.
From heart transplants to stroke reversals to the labor and delivery room, we’ve been part of some of life’s truly miraculous moments. It’s what first called us to this field, and it’s what keeps us still, as heartbreaking as it can be – especially in this battle against COVID-19 and all its ripple effects.
Hope is what drives us every day, through setbacks and obstacles. Through too many patients and not enough beds. Through tragedy and loss, and on to something better that we can build together on the other side.
In times of crisis, we are the helpers people turn to. They come to us at their most vulnerable, in need of compassionate care and healing. And we are there without fail. It’s a responsibility we’re privileged to hold – especially in these times of true crisis—and each of us works unabashedly to be worthy of it.
Now, closing out the year with the promise of a vaccine on the way, my wish is that families can keep that hope with them through the coming winter months. Stay masked, stay home, stay safe. And if we do that, we have tremendous hope for a healthy and happy 2021 to come.
Melinda L. Estes, MD, is President and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Missouri, a faith-based, not-for-profit that include 18 hospitals and campuses, home care and hospice, behavioral health care, dozens of physician practices, a life care senior living community, and more. Dr. Estes is a board-certified neurologist and neuropathologist, and currently serves as the Chair of the American Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees. She was recently named one of 2020’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives by Modern Healthcare.