Jefferson Health: A Conversation With Dr. Wendy Ross
Hahnemann’s closure has profoundly affected cardiology patients and providers.
The top story in Philadelphia healthcare in the summer and fall of 2019 was the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital. As February is Heart Month, there is no better time to raise awareness of the continually cascading effects that Hahnemann’s closure has had on cardiology patients across Philadelphia.
Due to Hahnemann’s closure, Drexel Medicine’s cardiology practice closed. Many of the patients served by Hahnemann University Hospital and Drexel Medicine are underserved and have complex medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and other comorbidities. There are patients who are on blood thinners, other high-risk medications, and have cardiac devices. Hahnemann’s closure has affected every single one of them.
Many patients lost their primary care physicians, their specialists, and their medical home for decades. They have lost those who have been treating them for years, those who have been helping them coordinate and navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. Some patients have cried in our offices because they do not know what to do. They did not understand how this could happen or why their already difficult healthcare situations were thrown into further disarray.
There are patients who are on blood thinners, other high-risk medications, and have cardiac devices. Hahnemann’s closure has affected every single one of them.
For physicians, other healthcare providers, and administrators, they too have been experiencing profound, collective grief. They lost their jobs and their stability. Some have been there for decades and were close to retirement. They lost their work friends and the community that they have been serving for many years.
Sallie graduated from medical school at Drexel, returned for fellowship in 2009 and had been there since the completion of her fellowship. Paulina had been at Drexel since 2000, when she was an intern. We both have been at Hahnemann/Drexel for many years and loved working there. We loved the community that we served and the friendships that we formed through the years. We loved teaching students, residents, and fellows, and learning from our mentors.
With those deep roots, losing Hahnemann and leaving Drexel was like losing a home. It was emotionally draining for us, our colleagues, our patients, and the housestaff who needed to find new institutions to finish their training.
Fortunately, we have found a new home at Jefferson. We are excited about the new chapter in our lives and are looking forward to seeing patients at the Jefferson Heart Institute. We hope to continue playing an important role in caring for the underserved in Philadelphia. Hearts are hurting across the city. We hope to heal as many of those hearts as possible.
Dr. Sung-Hae (Sallie) Cho was formerly an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology and the program director for the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship at the Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Paulina Gorodin Kiliddar was an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Drexel. They are both now practicing cardiologists at Jefferson Health.