AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Hundreds of hospital patients, including those who battled COVID-19, were able to virtually connect with loved ones while receiving treatment.
It’s all thanks to a doctor at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.
That doctor is Kristin Collier. She is physician and general surgeon at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.
When COVID-19 first hit, it put some heavy visitation restrictions at hospitals across the nation, including at Phoebe Sumter.
“I started to see frustration with the patients because they couldn’t have family members present,” Collier said.
Collier saw a solution to this after noticing a patient using her phone to FaceTime a loved one.
After getting hospital approval, she posted on her personal Facebook page in March, asking anyone and everyone to donate unused tablets and phones, so all hospital patients could connect to the outside world.
“I just started seeing the tablets and the phones just piling into my office,” she said.
Around 30 or 40 iPhones and iPads were donated along with other devices.
Collier said companies even donated devices.
One of those companies bought out a retail store’s entire stock of Android tablets, just for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center patients.
“The patients wanted to see their families but really it was the family member that, I think, at home were more touched by being able to see that their family member was actually okay," said Collier.
Collier said as a general surgeon, she typically wouldn’t have much involvement with some patients, including those battling COVID-19.
However, she volunteered to give out tablets to those who needed them to continue to be the bridge that connected patients to loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I just like to see the patients happy," Collier said. "I think they get better quicker if they’re happy.”
At this point, Collier said the hospital doesn’t need any more devices but she and hospital staff are thankful for the donations already received.
She said all devices are cleaned and wiped down after each patient use.
Also, most of the devices were donated from people in Sumter County.