From anxiety to outrage to hope
A resurgence of the COVID–19 outbreak now would add yet another layer of complexity to an already exploding scenario for 2020. In the midst of massive and global protest in reaction to the death of former Salvation Army employee George Floyd, anxiety over the pandemic has turned to outrage against injustice; thousands of shouting voices and marching feet have trampled mandates for social distancing. Although the media has turned its attention on the drama unfolding in city streets, doctors and other health care workers continue to wage a desperate struggle to save lives in our nation’s hospitals. This is the fourth installment of From Anxiety to Outrage to Hope, that will put the spotlight back on Salvationists who are doing this essential work.
Dr. Tim Raymond’s window
Unbridled like a raging bull in a china shop, COVID–19 seemingly kicks, stomps, and shatters lives at every turn. However, in many hospitals across the country, real glass is an effective barrier against the virus. In the case of Dr. Timothy E. Raymond, the glass windows of patients’ rooms can also serve as memo pads.
“Respiratory therapists and nurses will often write messages on the window of the patient’s room to communicate information to members of the care team so as to avoid unnecessary traffic in and out of the room of a COVID patient,” says the 36–year–old advanced heart failure cardiologist. “For example, one respiratory therapist wrote ventilator and ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine) parameters for me on the window so I didn’t have to go in,” he says.
“I’ve been involved with a fair amount of COVID patients recently,” Raymond says. “The people who are the most involved across the country are without a doubt the pulmonary critical care doctors, the infectious disease doctors, and the emergency physicians. My role is to assist those doctors if there is a cardiac component and oftentimes there is.”
When that’s the case, Raymond is either primarily responsible for the care of such patients or is helping to manage their procedures and medication lists. “Most of my practice deals with people with weak hearts who may need transplant or advanced therapies, such as a mechanical heart pump surgically installed,” he says.
“I’ll do a week where I’m in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). My work could be as simple as trying to lower someone’s blood pressure or it could be as complicated as trying to start another person’s heart beating again. It’s a wide spectrum,” says Raymond.
Motivated to serve
Raymond is motivated to help patients who’ve been ill for a while and are struggling to survive. He has a passion to find those write–on–the–window moments that solve big problems with ingenuity rather than costly technology. “I like being challenged to try to figure out a way to get patients feeling better and to use my expertise and my training, whether it’s simply changing their medical regimen or seeing if they qualify for or need something like a transplant or an assist device.”
Raymond says fewer cases are showing up in Ohio than were previously recorded. Over the past month, there has been a steady decline at The Christ Hospital, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he currently practices. He and other doctors are also encouraged by the new cutting–edge technologies that promise to shatter the COVID–19 ceiling. “I’m motivated to continue to learn about the virus with respect to medication regimens and to participate in research that will really help people,” he says.
Clinical trials are going on at The Christ Hospital where doctors are administering plasma to patients from people who had COVID–19 and now possess antibodies. “That’s kind of exciting,” Raymond says.
Raymond, who was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, says his patients share a variety of opinions about the pandemic and what it means. From Ohio’s border with Kentucky to communities in the inner city of Cincinnati, he hears a common thread that deeply concerns him.
“America is living in fear and it’s a dangerous thing. As Christians, that’s not how we’re called to live. We have to be cautious and careful and respectful, particularly with those people who are at much higher risk. We’re not supposed to be a fearful people,” Raymond says.
“I think because this virus is so infectious, it’s emotionally paralyzing. In the wrong context, it really can spread like wildfire. When you take away people’s freedoms or their ability to go out and do things and you leave them in a bubble, that drives a lot of the fear. That’s all the news being covered right now. It’s easy to be completely wrapped around it and absorbed.”
As a husband and father of three, Raymond relies on Scripture to answer life’s perplexing questions. “I love Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
“My role is not to understand why God is doing things. My interpretation of what He’s doing is flawed with so many inadequacies. So, I try to focus on helping people with what I can do and what I can control.”
Dr. Raymond spent eight years living in and around Chicago, IL where he completed a B.S. in biology at Wheaton College, followed by his medical degree from The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University. He then returned home to complete his residency at the Cleveland Clinic and remained on as a staff physician as a hospitalist for an additional year. He then completed his general cardiology fellowship in Detroit, MI and went back to Cleveland Clinic to complete his final year of training in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology.
Raymond, who comes from a family of doctors, also enjoys participating in medical missions work in Honduras with The Salvation Army and his dad, Dr. Russ Raymond.
by Warren L. Maye
From Anxiety to Outrage to Hope: View Series