Retired healthcare workers step up to help Dallas County during COVID-19 outbreak

As the COVID-19 coronavirus began showing in Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins put out the call for retired healthcare professionals to relist and serve the sick. More than 160 have responded so far.

Luis Saldana is a retired emergency room doctor who worked in Methodist and Presbyterian Hospital systems for 30 years. He says he was impressed that Dallas County was not just reacting, but planning for what could happen with COVID-19.

So when Judge Jenkins asked retirees to relist, Saldana jumped at it and was the first to sign up.

“The goal is to off-load those front line providers. We don't want them getting overloaded or wearing them out and taking them out of the game because they can't keep themselves safe,” Saldana said. “Whatever role they need me for. I know they’ve talked about using the convention center now as possibly for a hospital for those that are not critically ill. I would foresee that. The role would be in the not critically ill patients and caring for those and doing that.”

Saldana says the goal is for people to follow the social distancing rules and shelter in place order to help slow the spread of the virus.

“I think the goal would be I'm there on the bench and never get used,” he said. “They never need the bench players.”

Saldana notes we are currently using only two percent of available hospital beds across the state.

Although Dallas County leads the state in the number of confirmed cases, the county hasn’t experienced the kind of outbreak happening in places like New York and New Orleans.

Saldana is hopeful that our preparation and the limiting of person-to-person contact will keep coronavirus from having tens of thousands of victims here at home.