When the pandemic hit and all nonemergency surgeries were suddenly postponed, Richard Ehrlichman, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital, found his clinical schedule shifting dramatically. Dr. Ehrlichman, who is also a colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, became a key player in establishing and operating Boston Hope, a field hospital set up in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for patients with COVID-19. Boston Hope opened its doors in just nine days with 1,000 beds for recovering patients. Staff members also cared for those who are homeless and had tested positive for the virus. “During this experience, we learned two important things: Some patients can have a relapse, and others who recover can be very weak and need rehabilitative care,” Dr. Ehrlichman said. “This was a different experience for me. I have set up 20-bed hospitals, but nothing this big. We learned a lot about what our patients needed, which was certainly more than we thought at the beginning.”
Over two months, almost 800 patients were admitted to the field hospital. While it’s not currently needed, officials stand ready to reactivate Boston Hope with two days’ notice to accept patients. During this especially difficult time, we thank all of our amazing staff who have reached out to assist in their communities.