KU Cares: Jayhawks on the Frontlines

DR. PAUL LONEY has been a supporter of the Williams Education Fund since 1988 when he was completing a medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. In 1995, a few years after completing his residency at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Loney returned to Lawrence to serve as an emergency physician at what is now LMH Health, a role he has been in for the past 25 years.

As an emergency physician, Dr. Loney’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic is to treat patients who visit the emergency room with symptoms related to the virus while still tending to day to day medical emergencies. While his day-to-day processes of interacting with patients has not changed, Dr. Loney is aware of the dangers that he exposes himself to going to work every day.

“It is no different than any other day of the week. You pick up a chart and go see the patient, get your orders in and go from there,” Loney said. “I go to work and get exposed (to the virus) and every time I go in, I am fully aware that this may be the day that I am exposed to the patient who could give it to me, but so far I have been fortunate to not get it. There are of course protective measures we take but there is always that chance”

While he is serving courageously on the front lines to fight this virus, Dr. Loney has identified the group that he considers to be the real heroes.

“(I would give that title to) the nurses,” Loney said. “They are the ones who are spending a lot more time around the patients. Kudos to the nurses and other ancillary staff. The ones who are delivering the care and being exposed a lot more.”

Dr. Loney’s wife, Catrina is among the several LMH Health nurses whose role has drastically been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“(Catrina has gone) from being a bedside nurse in the pain management department to running the hotline phone, being a runner in the ER, or working in the drive thru testing area,” Loney said. “There are a ton of nurses who have had that sort of change due to their department being cut down.”

Dr. Loney has advice for the community members who want to help in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Follow these community guidelines that keep being put out there,” Loney said. “Be careful. But don’t be afraid. If you do all those right things, you are helping yourself and the community by helping prevent the spread, but people do not need to live in morbid fear if they follow common sense.”

We want to say thank you to Dr. Paul and Catrina Loney for not being afraid while continuing the fight to eradicate COVID-19.