Sit-down with Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers

Interview with David Spillers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - You’ve seen Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers in press conference after press conference going over how our community is handling COVID-19, but WAFF 48′s Payton Walker had the chance to sit down with him one-on-one to ask him some more in-depth questions on how he views the pandemic.

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to go up, many are questioning how hospitals are handling the growth, to which Spillers says Huntsville Hospital is working diligently to create more space and accommodate the patient increase.

Spillers on Huntsville Hospital managing capacity

“We took one of our floors that was being used for other types of cases, moved those cases out of that floor, changed the airflows in the entire floor and made that a COVID unit,” says Spillers. “So, that gave us additional capacity for COVID patients.”

The bigger concern, Spillers says, isn’t so much having enough space - it’s having enough workers.

“When you’ve got an environment where nurses are in short supply to start with as well as other healthcare professionals, you’ve got employees that are out because COVID is in the community... all of a sudden, you’ve got a short supply of those clinical specialist you need,” says Spillers. “That’s the limiting factor that I worry about probably more so than beds is will we have enough staff if this thing continues to spread in the community.”

As far as how the community has responded to coronavirus so far, Spillers says he thinks North Alabama has done a good job but cautions against any lax action moving forward.

Spillers on North Alabama response to COVID

“I think our community has responded well up until about the last couple of weeks,” says Spillers “Over the last couple of weeks, we started losing control of it, and I hope we’ll regain control of it.”

When asked if he could go back to March 1, Spillers says there’s one thing he would do differently.

“People will still debate face coverings. We probably should have implemented that, pushed that a little sooner than we did,” says Spillers.

“I think when this is all over, we’ll all sit down and debrief and look over the period of time and say,‘What would we do different? How would we implement things sooner?‘” says Spillers. “We’ll learn from the process.”

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