At the height of the winter surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was Terese Hammond, M.D., medical director of the Intensive Care Unit/Critical Care Unit at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, to whom doctors, nurses, patients, and families turned for support and guidance. This medical expert knew how to remain calm under pressure and what to do to save patients’ lives.
Recently, in honor of her service to the community, Dr. Hammond was recognized by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-California) as a recipient of the Women of the Year Award. This year’s awards honored “hometown heroes” who live, work or volunteer in the 27th Congressional District and who demonstrated great courage and leadership during the pandemic. Dr. Hammond is a resident of Pasadena. She was one of 12 women selected to receive the award. She was honored in May during a virtual ceremony.
“Amid all the struggle of this past year, each one of our honorees has risen to the occasion and made incredible impacts in the San Gabriel Valley. At a time when we needed heroes most, they stepped up and gave all of us hope,” Chu said.
During the height of the pandemic when other hospitals were turning patients away, Dr. Hammond and her team expanded Saint John’s Health Center’s ICU to accept patients transferred from other hospitals and to treat those who were critically ill.
The decision gave several patients from across Southern California the opportunity to receive Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment, which uses a machine to pump and oxygenate a patient’s blood outside of their body to give the heart and lungs time to rest.
“This has allowed many young people who otherwise would have died a second chance at life,” Dr. Hammond explained.