Wolf Klassen
From left, Wolf Klassen in 2003 during SARS and again in 2020 during COVID-19.

#IamMGH – Meet Wolf Klassen

#IamMGH tells the story of our people. Meet Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

While in the midst of COVID-19, we are grateful for the expertise and wisdom of leaders like Wolf who worked through SARS in 2003 and are now using their experiences and learnings to help us keep our community safe.

“The picture on the left is from SARS, 17 years ago.  I had attended a meeting at Scarborough Grace Hospital – ground zero for SARS in Toronto – during the critical time period when the virus had first made its appearance. As a result, I was sent into quarantine. However, after only a few days, our CEO at the time called me and asked if I would be willing to go back to Scarborough Grace and help their executive team. They had been working 24/7 and were exhausted. I said yes and spent the next week – day and night – leading their Command Centre.

There are clear differences between SARS and COVID-19, such as the fact that SARS was more of a localized illness, whereas COVID-19 is a global one. However, there are healthcare impacts in both cases. One of the biggest lessons I learned during SARS that is currently helping me through COVID-19 is that no one gets through this kind of crisis alone.  Teamwork is crucial, and it is only through the coordinated efforts of working with our partners – both internal and external – that disaster can be averted. The other important lesson that I learned is that, at a time where planning is a luxury and time is critical, success depends on the agility and creativity of an organization’s response.      

As we continue our pandemic response, I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for every single person who works at MGH. From our clinicians to our porters and our interdisciplinary health professionals to our environmental services staff, I have seen our entire MGH team go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that our staff and patients are safe and that our hospital continues to be a trusted place in which to give and receive care. I also want to give a shout-out to our Infection Prevention and Control leaders, who are second to none. Through their expertise and diligence, we have been able to develop key strategies that have helped us to mitigate the impact to our staff and patients.

To every person who makes up our MGH team, I say thank you. Thank you on behalf of our hospital and our community. We will get through this together.”

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