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A moving Tampa General video praises nurses, doctors on the front lines

Members of the hospital’s Board of Directors tell the staff they are heroes in the fight against the coronavirus. “The antidote to fear is love,” one leader says.

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TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital sent a video message to its staff this week, both preparing and thanking them for what’s ahead in the coronavirus pandemic.

It features members of the hospital’s board of directors sharing touching words of gratitude for nurses and doctors on the front lines. They say the challenges coming will be bigger than ever.

“These next few days and weeks may be the most important in the 100-year history of our great hospital,” board chairman John Touchton says to open the video. “You will be tested like never before.”

Others thanked workers for their bravery in the face of the unfolding medical crisis. They promised prayers for medical staff and the families they are leaving at home to care for patients, urging those who need help to reach out.

“We’re here to support you,” said board member and University of South Florida trustee Les Muma.

“Every step of the way,” added board member Drew Graham, later saying: “I know you don’t ask to be heroes, but that’s exactly what you are.”

Dr. Tapan Padhva, a specialist in head and neck surgery who has been at Tampa General for 21 years, said he “couldn’t be prouder” of the work the hospital is doing.

“I know that in these difficult times, we’re going to get through this,” added urology Dr. Raviender Bukkapatnam. “And we’re going to do it together.”

Board members acknowledged the anxiety surrounding the virus and how it will impact Tampa General, with board member John Brabson saying along with praying for staff, he is also lifting up the institution itself.

“Fear is natural in times of crisis,” Graham added. “I feel it, and I know you feel it. But I also believe that the antidote to fear is love. And what you are doing in caring for these patients battling this terrible scourge of a virus is truly love in action.”

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