Over the past year, countries and communities around the world have been challenged in unprecedented ways by the coronavirus pandemic. At Mercy Health we have experienced firsthand the relentless pace and pressure on our health and aged care services and the enormous burden shouldered by extraordinary people doing their job in the most exacting circumstances.
As a humble token of gratitude for our incredible staff and their tireless care and compassion, Mercy Health has launched an exhibition of four portrait photographs, titled Extraordinary. These stunning canvases will be travelling to Mercy Health sites around the country in coming months.
The images, taken by photographer Scott McAulay, capture the extraordinary care and commitment of all Mercy Health staff across our health and aged care services. They shine a light on the myriad decisions and interactions that go on behind the scenes every day, so that we can continue providing the best care for those in need.
Werribee Mercy Hospital nurse Mayank Gami is one of the hundreds of frontline heroes who have cared for people diagnosed with coronavirus in one of Melbourne’s worst-affected regions. From the first patient of the day to the last, staff don and doff personal protective equipment every time they enter or leave the room of a patient with coronavirus.
In the Mercy Hospital for Women Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery, premature and unwell newborns have continued to receive lifesaving care during the pandemic. Registered nurses Sarah Tyler and Alexia Perucich recall the overwhelming anxiety of the first wave. “If a parent sneezed, you would wonder, ‘Are they sick? Am I going to get sick?’,” Sarah says. The speed and industry of care for the very young reads like a dance, a ballet of care, all moving in synchronised purpose.
A number of residential aged care homes experienced coronavirus cases and residents were confined to their rooms until the risk abated. Mercy Place Parkville was the hardest hit and many residents and staff, including Personal Care Assistant Leomelie Arias (pictured with resident Sr Theresa), contracted the virus. The simple joy of sun and breeze on our faces has become such a precious thing.
Every day throughout the pandemic, home care workers like Sana Hafeez (pictured with client Doris Evans) have continued to care for elderly and vulnerable people in their homes across the country, many of whom were fearful of the virus. Our homes were a refuge for all of us from the virus, and the power of Mercy Home Care staff, some of the few visitors allowed, can never be underestimated.
These photographs challenge the idea of the ordinary day or the ordinary person. At Mercy Health we believe in the inherent dignity and worth of every person. We also recognise that in every unique person, the ordinary can transform into the heroic when the situation calls.
We invite you to reflect on these moments, these relationships in time, to recall your own moments and to see in these images the great gift of God’s mercy in us all.
Last reviewed March 25, 2021.