Missouri Children's Hospital Leaders Advocate For Help Protecting Kids From COVID-19

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Three leaders of Missouri children’s hospitals signed a letter alongside other national leaders, asking the public for help in keeping kids healthy and safe from COVID-19.

The letter, signed on August 29, called on leaders and the American public to stand with the doctors. Steven Burghart of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Trisha Lollo of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Paul Kempinski of Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy hospital were just three of more than 60 signatures.



Following health measures like washing hands, wearing masks responsibly in large gatherings and getting vaccinated are three things the doctors and leaders are asking the public to do. The Children’s Hospital Association is an organization of more than 220 children’s hospitals.

Mark Wietecha, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association, said in a press release the “children’s healthcare safety net is under unprecedented strain.” The organization is hoping Americans can help staff of the hospitals by doing their part. Wietecha also called on Congress and the White House to take action to prevent the weakening of the pediatric health system.



"Given the situation on the ground, we are reaching out to draw further attention to the challenges we face that affect our kids,” Wietecha said in a statement. “Our children's hospitals provide care to all children who need it, and with support directed to pediatric capacity, they can continue to meet that commitment."

The letter points to surging numbers of respiratory illnesses like RSV, the rising number of COVID-19 cases in children and the impact on mental health the pandemic has had as reasons for children’s hospitals being pushed toward capacity. Children’s hospitals are also experiencing a workforce shortage, the press release says. As of today, the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force reported seventeen children under the age of nineteen are in task force hospitals, with five of them in the ICU.

“Together, we can keep our children safer,” the letter ended. “They need our support, our care and our commitment to their future. They need it now.”

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at jenna@riverfronttimes.com
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