Respiratory therapists everywhere have stood strong this year, showing the world the vital role RTs serve in patient health. We’ve lost some of our colleagues to COVID-19, as a direct result of their work with patients. To honor their sacrifice, the AARC Board of Directors created the COVID-19 RT Fund to send money to the surviving families of these RTs. Dräger chose to support this fund by donating $10,000.
According to a Dräger press release, as of Aug. 18, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 136,697 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among health care workers, of which 632 died as a result of caring for patients with COVID-19. As Thomas Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, AARC executive director explains, RTs are represented in those numbers.
“All respiratory therapists are heroes,” Kallstrom said. “In this pandemic they selflessly serve, caring for others in their most desperate time of need. We are thankful to Dräger for financial support toward our COVID-19 RT Fund, through which we honor those who died while caring for our patients.”
Through the COVID-19 RT Fund, the AARC grants $500 to the family of each licensed RT who contracted COVID-19 while working and then died from complications of the disease. Two commemorative blocks in the AARC Virtual Museum, one for the RT’s family and one for the RT’s employer, will also be donated.
“We commend the AARC for initiating this important program, which offers support to the RT profession and those families who have suffered tremendous losses,” said President and CEO for Dräger in North America Lothar Thielen. “We are proud to donate financial resources to keep this program fully funded and operational given the breadth of the pandemic and its impact on the RT community.”
If you become aware of a licensed respiratory therapist who contracted COVID-19 while working and then died from complications of the disease, email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are likely respiratory therapists that we are not aware of who died.