Dr. Thurman ’00 Battling COVID in Iowa

Jul 02, 2020

Dr. John Thurman ’00, Medical Director of Great River Hospice House in Iowa, could see the COVID-19 outbreak was heading in his direction. So he doubled down, continuing his work on Hospice care for his patients and at the same time joining a team to create a COVID-19 Drive-Thru Clinic in West Burlington, Iowa. As more resources were diverted to COVID-19 testing and treatment, Thurman worked around the clock to keep Hospice patients taken care of and safe during the pandemic. He says “our clinic is working to resume normal operations with proper social distancing, mask wearing and cleaning all rooms before and after each patient visit. I still manage and monitor the Hospice house, admit patients and care for them to ensure comfort before passing.” He also connected with fellow West Point Grad Gary Williams ’00, who helped supply the hospital with proper PPE gear for the medical staff.

When the hospital CEO reached out to Thurman for guidance on planning a COVID-19 testing site, Thurman stepped up to the plate. He and his colleague Dr. Michael Abouassaly quickly decided that the fairgrounds across the street from the hospital would be an ideal location, and determined that a ‘Drive-Thru’ clinic model would be the best use of the space for a COVID-19 testing site. Construction for the official “Test Iowa” site started on March 24, and the drive-thru clinic officially opened on May 26. The staff at the clinic have been seeing more than 100 patients a day since it opened. Thurman says that once the COVID-19 outbreak is contained, the test site can continue to be used for disaster relief initiatives.

WPAOG thanks Thurman, Williams and all of the West Point grads doing their part to help during this pandemic.


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