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100 Days After Bethesda Hospital Started Treating COVID-19 Patients, Doctor Says There's Hope For The Future

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota's first hospital to treat the most critical COVID-19 patients hit a milestone this week.

WCCO looks back on 100 days of care at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul where there is hope for the future.

After an almost overnight transformation in March, Bethesda Hospital has treated more than 400 COVID-19 patients.  While more than 70 people have lost their battles, it's the more than 80% who have survived that push Doctor Bryan Williams forward.

"We have sent hundreds of people back home and saved a lot of lives here," Dr. Williams said.

"We set out to let everyone know that this was a place for hope," he added.

Dr. Williams was there when the first critical COVID patient came to the ICU.

"I wanted to see this disease first hand and lay hands on the enemy as it were," he said.

That enemy has been under attack here since, from clinical trials to on-site testing.

"We really took our entire system and brought it here including the academic arm," Dr. Williams said.

Hospitalizations have dropped considerably at Bethesda since April.  But, as COVID cases now surge in other parts of the country, Dr. Williams says he is guarded moving ahead.  He believes with science and common sense Minnesota won't be in as bad of shape.

Patients ring a bell when they leave Bethesda while "Here Comes the Sun" plays on the loudspeaker.

"Every time I hear that bell in the hallway or that song overhead it's moving," he said.

A celebration of life and a lofty goal since day one.

"We're going to get people home and be proud of it and save a lot of Minnesotans and that's exactly what has happened the last 100 days," Dr. Williams said.

None of the hundreds of staff members who have worked at Bethesda have died from COVID-19.  In fact, Dr. Williams told us he feels safer inside the hospital that he would at a local bar due to all of the precautions they take inside.

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