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Column: Angel Medical Center is Truly a Place Where Heroes Work

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President’s Column
Karen S. Gorby,

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center

Signs at hospital entrances and in windows all over the country proclaim that healthcare workers are heroes, especially as they’ve faced caring for patients during an historic pandemic. Over the last nine months, as we’ve seen COVID-19 cases go in both favorable downward directions and worrisome upticks, the entire Angel Medical Center (AMC) team has gone above and beyond, facing so many unknowns. My gratitude for my AMC team is boundless.

Nothing in our life is as it was when 2020 started, and we’ve all heard jokes about what else the year might have in store for us in terms of unwelcome surprises. I have seen how the effects of COVID-19 have impacted our staff both professionally and personally. They have been put to the test in many ways during the past year.

Bravery is seen in the flexibility and resourcefulness of our team. They worked all year with frequently changing care protocols while never hesitating to shift care practices as we learned more about COVID-19. They have, without fail, stepped up time and time again to learn new practices and policies, even while continuing the high quality of care they provide.

Our caregivers and staff never questioned keeping our patients as their top priority. The staff did all they could to help their patients deal with an uncertain illness that isolated them from their families. They helped the families deal with the more stringent visitor restrictions that were put in place due to the pandemic.

I witnessed the team’s adaptability, especially when it came to the changes we had to make to the hospital environment, and how we did things each day. They didn’t flinch as we enacted COVID-19 screening requirements for all who entered the hospital, mandated the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers, and added complexity to their daily tasks, such as instituting preoperative COVID testing for patients scheduled for surgery.

The heroes of Angel Medical Center have had their coping skills tested, their versatility expanded, and their flexibility stretched to lengths never before demanded. AMC’s amazing team has shown me what heroes are really made of: grit, selflessness, openness to collaboration, curiosity, and a level of commitment that is unparalleled. The AMC caregivers and staff have always been exemplary professionals, but what I have seen this year brought the depth of their courage and character home in a way I would never have seen if we hadn’t been faced with this formidable challenge. I offer my heartfelt and humble thanks to our special Angel Medical Center team.

As you may know, Mission Health received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday and began vaccinating our employees Friday morning in accordance with the CDC tiering system. This guidance from the CDC prioritizes healthcare workers most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and includes staff at Mission Hospital in Asheville, along with staff at the five regional hospital locations. The staff health team has worked through the weekend to administer the vaccine quickly to our frontline workers. Vaccinations are continuing and we have been told to expect doses of the Moderna and more of Pfizer vaccine within the next week, but we don’t have firm dates at this time. For additional information regarding the availability of COVID 19 vaccinations as well as the phased approach to administering the vaccination, please access the NC DHHS COVID 19 website at You can also visit

Karen S. Gorby, RN, MSN, MBA, CENP, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. Gorby is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). For nearly three decades, she has served hospitals and health systems in Ohio before assuming her role at Angel Medical Center. Gorby received her MSN from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, and her MBA from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.


Angel Medical Center, a member of Mission Health, an operating division of HCA Healthcare, is a full-service community hospital serving Macon and the surrounding counties. Located in Franklin, North Carolina, Angel Medical Center is a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital offering inpatient services that include an intensive care unit, and a medical and surgical unit. Angel Medical Center has also been named an Acute Stroke Ready hospital by The Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Outpatient services include a wound clinic, chemotherapy services, a full laboratory, digital mammography, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, rehab therapy, as well as surgical and endoscopy services. The hospital also operates Mission My Care Now Franklin and CarePartners Hospice & Home Health. For more information, please visit


Mission Health, an operating division of HCA Healthcare, is based in Asheville, North Carolina, and is the state’s sixth largest health system. Mission Health operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, long-term acute care provider Asheville Specialty Hospital and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. With approximately 12,000 colleagues and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit or @MissionHealthNC.


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Published at 3:20pm on Monday, December 21, 2020


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