FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — “All we knew was what we were seeing in China, New York, and Washington,” Northwest Health System’s Chief of Staff Dr. Burton Bledsoe said. “Just a huge fatality rate and physicians becoming ill so when you see things like that it’s obviously kinda scary.”

Dr. Bledsoe and Washington Regional’s Dr. Michael Bolding faced a new challenge in 2020, finding an effective treatment for patients battling a global pandemic.

“At times feeling helpless not being able to do something for some patients because there isn’t anything to do,” Dr. Bledsoe said.

Dr. Burton Bledsoe – NW Health Systems

“So many times I have seen patients that we use all four or five tools and we’re out of bullets and they’re getting worse,” Dr. Bolding said.

Working on the frontlines had its lows.

“At times the isolation of the patients just because family members aren’t able to visit and we’re basically their family,” Dr. Bledsoe said.

“We had spring break trip plans to go to Hawaii and then having these meetings and basically deciding that me and my partner – the two of us – would be running the covid units,” Dr. Bolding said. “Going home and telling my family, you know, not only that we weren’t going but that I was going to be running the covid units that was a rough couple of days.”

But there were some highs, like sending patients back home.

“That was obviously very rewarding very emotional someone recovering and that gave us hope,” Dr. Bledsoe said.

Dr. Michael Bolding – Washington Regional

“This virus isn’t going to get them they’re going to get out of the hospital and that they lived through this,” Dr. Bolding said.

And getting vaccinated is only making the light at the end of the tunnel even brighter.

“[Seeing] the human side, the scientific side, then finally get something that may put an end to this is an emotional thing,” Dr. Bledsoe said.


“If we can educate and roll this out properly then I’m very hopeful for seeing an end to this some point in 2021,” Dr. Bolding said.