So the Pope came to town. Dunno if you heard.
Pope Francis's historic visit to Philadelphia was an uneventful kind of eventful — which is to say that based on crowd estimates for the historic event, we here at Penn Medicine were prepared for an enormous surge of patients speaking dozens of languages. But thankfully, the Papal pilgrims must have been in good health and a very cautious bunch, since it was a pretty “quiet” weekend throughout our city hospitals.
We've already documented a number of those preparations, so there's really no need to go over that again. Instead, let's talk about what happened in the hospitals over the weekend, while thousands of employees and staff — prevented by security measures from performing their normal commutes — were staying overnight for a day or two in the hospitals themselves.
Actually, we'll do more than talk about it: We'll show you.
Over the weekend, we worked with a number of photographers (professional and amateur alike) as well as a number of folks from around the health system who were happy to take shots and send them our way as the weekend progressed. The result was a collection of somewhere around 700 images, all detailing in their own way the unique and kinda bizarre atmosphere that grew out of these once-in-a-generation circumstances.
Below is a slideshow with somewhere around 150 of those images. Not everybody who dedicated their time over the weekend is represented; to do that without bogging down the Internet would be nearly impossible. What these images offer is just a slice — a bunch of slices, really — of a much larger whole: a brief, sometimes funny, sometimes surreal glimpse into one weekend wherein thousands of people went above and beyond to display their dedication to Penn Medicine's charge.
The numbers bear that dedication out: In all over the Papal visit weekend, there were four transplants performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), as well as 25 babies born at HUP and Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH). More than 1,000 slept over at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, and more than 2,300 meals were provided.
One of the patients who got to witness all of this firsthand was Alena Scurry, whose baby A'zaria (which means "God helps") was born Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6:19 p.m. at PAH. Alena wasn't due until Oct. 1, but made her way to PAH with the help of their command center and the National Guard.
“Everyone was great,” Alena, was featured on CBS3 Sunday night, said. “The command center talked me through the process, and we got here with no problems.”
Once settled on the floor at PAH, Alena turned on the TV to hear the Pope speak down on the parkway.
“It gave me encouragement,” she told CBS3. “ I was inspired hearing him talk … God worked everything out and it was smooth sailing.”
Alena's story is just one of the thousands upon thousands from this past weekend at Penn Medicine. As promised, here are 150 or so glimpses at some of the others: