Crushing COVID-19

We have all done our best to navigate life around the COVID-19 outbreak, while trying to stay safe and adjusting to our new normal. Within the seriousness of the situation, we found bright spots to sustain us and information helped us minimize our risk.

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity, compassion and ingenuity forged by a difficult time, we found many examples of "the good." These stories highlight some of what we experienced between 2020 and 2022. We hope they will lift your spirits and warm your heart as we look to the future.

Exclusive access: Inside Froedtert's Medical ICU, where sickest COVID-19 patients end up

WISN 12 offered this rare looking into the Froedtert Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). Since March 2020, Froedtert & MCW health network hospitals and emergency departments have cared for more than 8,600 people with COVID-19, with 905 COVID-19 patients admitted to the MICU in 2020 and 2021. The front-line workers in the MICU have witnessed suffering and heartache, and they urge people to get vaccinated.

From Fox 6

COVID cases tick up; officials urge wearing masks in indoor public spaces

Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist, talked to Fox6 about the uptick in COVID-19 cases and new strains we're seeing in our community.

From WPR

COVID-19 patients using remote monitoring portal had 32 percent lower hospitalization rate, study shows

Bradley Crotty, MD, chief digital engagement officer for Froedtert Health, spoke with WPR about a study where 5,363 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 logged on to a remote patient-monitoring program via their computers or a mobile phone app.

From WUWM 98.7

Post-COVID Multispecialty Clinic helps patients with physical and mental toll of COVID-19

The Post-COVID Multispecialty Clinic at the Froedtert & MCW health network was developed for people who need long-term care for complications related to COVID-19. Individuals are able to seek coordinated care for ongoing symptoms related to pulmonary, psychiatry, endocrine, hematology, cardiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology and ENT.

From Spectrum News 1

‘My life has changed forever’: Milwaukee nurse, a COVID-19 long-hauler, still on the path to recovery

Cynthia, who receives cardiac and pulmonary care at the Froedtert & MCW Post-COVID Multispecialty Program, has struggled with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms since getting COVID-19 in 2020. She and Julie Biller, MD, pulmonologist, caught up with Spectrum New 1 WI almost a year later to provide an update on her progress and recovery since first sharing her story last year.

From CNN

A federal program to ease access to COVID-19 antivirals rolls out, but pills have been going unused in many parts of the United States

Jane Wainaina, MD, FACP, infectious-disease specialist and medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Froedtert Hospital, talked with CNN about the challenges of distributing COVID-19 antiviral medication.

From CBS 58

Artist Jill Paddock donates stained glass hearts to health care workers

Watch the story about a local artist who shares a little love with Froedtert Hospital, one heart at a time.

From Becker's Hospital Review

Building a culture of innovation for better patient health

COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in nearly every sector, including healthcare. The article calls out Froedtert & MCW health network's effort to develop an app for employee screening.

From WUWM 89.7

Froedtert medical director for infection prevention and control talks about Omicron surge

Mary Beth Graham, Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist, provides sound expertise about what our community is currently experiencing and how to protect ourselves during the Omicron surge.

From Fox 6

COVID cases overwhelm emergency rooms at hospitals in SE Wisconsin

Jason Liu, MD, emergency medicine physician, talks about how the pandemic is putting stress on the hospitals, and what you should do and expect when you need care.

From WISN 12

Hospitals face decade-low blood supply shortage, in need of donors

David Milia, MD, trauma surgery medical director at Froedtert Hospital, talks about what makes this shortage so challenging and the importance of donating blood. Visit or call 877-BE-A-HERO (877-232-4376) to schedule a blood donation appointment.

From Spectrum News 1

365 more days of COVID-19: What scientists learned in our second pandemic year

Joyce Sanchez, MD, Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist, contributed to a retrospective on the biggest takeaways from what we learned about COVID-19 in 2021 and what could be ahead in 2022.

From WUWM 89.7

'A lot of people never got to say goodbye:' Milwaukee ICU nurse on how she persists, despite the tragedies of the pandemic

Christin Lissmann, RN, intensive care nurse at Froedtert Hospital, reflects on the impact caring for COVID-19 patients has had on her career and her life.

From TMJ 4

Respiratory virus season shows flu cases return amid rising COVID-19 numbers Open Respiratory virus season shows flu cases return amid rising COVID-19 numbers

Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, medical director of infection prevention and disease control at Froedtert Hospital, talks about how the only definitive diagnosis between flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19 is testing.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has reached Wisconsin. The experts answer your questions.

Jonathon Dean Truwit, MD, chief medical officer and pulmonologist; Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, infectious disease specialist; and Joyce Sanchez, MD, FACP, infectious disease specialist, provided answers to questions regarding the omicron variant of COVID-19.

From Wisconsin Public Radio

Doctors say more women are seeking treatment for 'long-haul' COVID-19. Some say more research is needed to know who's most affected.

Julie Biller, MD, medical director of the Froedtert & MCW Post COVID-19 Care Program and pulmonologist with Froedtert & MCW health network, spoke with Wisconsin Public Radio about long-haul COVID-19.

From CBS 58

Wisconsin COVID-19 cases and deaths rise to level last seen a year ago

Mary Beth Graham, MD, medical director of infection prevention at Froedtert Hospital, discussed the differences in rising COVID-19 infection rates between now and this time last year.

From TMJ 4

'We are taking this very seriously': What Milwaukee health officials know about the Omicron variant

Joyce Sanchez, MD, Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist, offered insights on testing and vaccination as health officials address efforts to fight the omicron variant of COVID-19.

From the Post Crescent

Delta's resurgence has Wisconsin's hospitals full again, and health care workers are bracing for what the holidays will bring

Michael Stadler, MD, chief medical officer at Froedtert Hospital, talks about how staff is dealing with the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

From WISN 12

'I've come a long way': Long-haul COVID-19 patient continues treatment

Julie Biller, MD, Froedtert & MCW pulmonologist, talks about how our Post COVID-19 Care Program is helping individuals like Cynthia, a 27-year-old woman with complications from COVID-19. 

From CBS 58

Doctors urge people to go out and get their flu shots now

Michael Stadler, MD, chief medical officer at Froedtert Hospital, emphasized, now more than ever, as the pandemic continues to impact our community it is critical for everyone to get the annual flu shot.

From WUWM 89.7

What A Milwaukee Municipal Judge Learned From His Battle With COVID-19

Milwaukee Municipal Judge Derek Mosley, a kidney transplant recipient who faced a 12-day battle with COVID-19 last year in the ICU at Froedtert Hospital, vividly remembers when his health hit a precarious stage.


COVID-19 questions: Should I get a vaccine even if I’ve been infected?

Health experts, including Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, emphasize that everyone who’s eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine should get one — even if they’ve recovered from an infection in the past.

From WISN 12

After 6-month COVID-19 battle, Brookfield man goes home

Mike Berry was released from Froedtert Hospital after 6 months. "You need to protect yourself from the virus so you don't go through what I went through," he said.


'That sense that you take for granted.' COVID-19 long-haulers deal with changes in taste and smell months after diagnosis

Todd A. Loehrl, MD, ENT specialist, talks about the long-term effect of COVID-19 on people's senses of taste and smell, and how Froedtert & MCW health network is going about treating these changes.

From Spectrum News 1

“Step by step”: Patients and providers tackle long-haul COVID-19 cases, one day at a time

Cynthia, a 27-year-old patient of Julie Biller, MD, medical director of the Froedtert & MCW Post COVID-19 Care Program and pulmonologist, recently spoke about the care she’s receiving as she fights back from lasting COVID-19 symptoms seven months after her diagnosis.

From WISN 12

You can still test positive for COVID-19 after getting the vaccine

Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, medical director for Infection Prevention and Control at Froedtert Hospital, explains why it is so important for everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine even though a person may contract the virus after vaccination.

From WISN 12

COVID-19: Coping on the front lines

Health care workers have worked on the front lines of the COVID pandemic for more than a year. Those working with COVID-19 patients at Froedtert & MCW health network shared how they are leaning on each other for support.

From WISN 12

Froedtert & MCW doctors research help for COVID-19 long haulers

Froedtert & MCW health network is one of two local health systems that have set up special clinics to treat patients with COVID-19 symptoms months after their original illness. The research done by Froedtert & MCW specialists could be part of helping COVID-19 patients around the world recover.


Op-Ed: When Is It Safe (and Ethical) to Travel Again?

Most of us are wondering the same thing. Is it safe to travel? Here's a comprehensive overview by Dr. Joyce Sanchez, medical director of the Travel Health Clinic with the Froedtert & MCW health network, who offers an expert’s perspective to help us make smart choices.

From Spectrum News 1

Caring For The Carers: Peer Support Group Lets Health Workers Lean On Each Other

Several Froedtert & MCW staff spoke about the "Supporting Our Staff" program and how it's designed to give staff someone to talk to when they are overwhelmed, stressed or upset.

From CBS 58

'This is a game changer': Wisconsin doctors expect FDA approval for Johnson & Johnson vaccine soon

Sid Singh, MD, enterprise chief quality and patient safety officer, talks about the benefits of having a third vaccine available and the advantages of a single-dose vaccine.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More contagious COVID-19 variant found in the UK reported in Milwaukee

Mary Beth Graham, MD, medical director of infection prevention and control at Froedtert Hospital, explained some of the concerns medical professionals and scientists are grappling with now that the UK COVID-19 variant has been reported in Wisconsin.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The COVID-19 precautions we're taking appear to be having a second effect: Cases of flu are almost nonexistent

Mary Beth Graham, MD, medical director, infection prevention and control at Froedtert Hospital; associate chief, Division of Infectious Disease, Medical College of Wisconsin, explains that, while the dramatic decrease in influenza this season isn’t a surprise, it’s still a good idea to get your flu shots.

From WISN 12

Medical report estimates pandemic will lead to 300,000 fewer births in 2021

Being pregnant during a pandemic is a whole new level of worry. Thankfully, the Froedtert & MCW health network offers Babyscripts™, a secure app integrated with a patient’s electronic health record.

From Today's TMJ4

The Rebound: Cutting-edge research may have found COVID heart-related issue in certain patients

A $30,000 grant from The Steve Cullen Healthy Heart Club/Run allowed MCW cardiovascular researcher Ze Zheng, PhD, to analyze data from hospitalized COVID-19 patients and discover that high cholesterol doubled a patient’s risk of death. This year, 100% of money raised from the annual run/walk will be devoted to COVID-related heart research.

From CBS 58

Doctors discuss COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women

Jennifer Jury McIntosh, DO, MS, OB/GYN, Froedtert & MCW Maternal Fetal Medicine Program and Medical College of Wisconsin associate professor, explains what science can tell us about the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women and emphasizes patients should feel comfortable having a conversation with their providers whenever they have questions.

From WISN 12

Some battle snowstorm to get COVID-19 vaccine

15,000 patients, 65 and older, who were contacted and then booked for an appointment across seven Froedtert & MCW health clinics, which opened on a snowy Tuesday.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

New clinics focus on the lasting effects of COVID-19, including fatigue, muscle weakness, pain and loss of taste

Julie Biller, pulmonologist and director for the Froedtert & MCW Post COVID-19 Care Program, talks about how the clinic brings together several specialties to manage the wide variety of symptoms that can linger after COVID-19.

From Today's TMJ4

WI DHS reports progress with vaccines, say weekly supply must ramp up to reach herd immunity by fall

Jill Polzin, a registered nurse in the Froedtert & MCW Clinical Cancer Center, shared her experience of getting her second COVID-19 vaccine yesterday and the importance of the vaccination for the safety of our patients.

From MKE Lifestyle

Paging Dr. Sandman

B. Tucker Woodson, MD, otolaryngology/head and neck surgery and sleep medicine specialist, Froedtert & MCW health network, addresses how the pandemic may impact your sleep.

Froedtert Health donates 50,000 masks and $20,000 funding to area health centers

Froedtert Health donated 50,000 masks and $20,000 for other supplies to five Federally Qualified Health Centers to support diverse communities hit the hardest by COVID-19. The donations were the result of ongoing outreach and partnerships with community health centers to determine what is needed most.

From Business Insider

Here's the coronavirus safety gear you should pack if you really must travel this holiday season

Joyce Sanchez, MD, medical director of the Froedtert & MCW Travel Health Clinic, talked about the importance of wearing a mask, including how a mask can protect you when you are standing in line or sitting on a plane.

From Today's TMJ4

Pandemic stress over the holidays

"It's important to reflect on what the holidays mean to us. The changes you're making to your holiday routine are with good purpose, there's a really good reason you’re doing this to keep you and the community safe." Andrew Schramm, PhD, Froedtert & MCW clinical psychologist, spoke with Today’s TMJ4. The topic? How we can work to manage stress as we enter a unique holiday season.

From WISN 12

Froedtert ER doctor describes stress, alarm due to COVID-19

In Wisconsin, COVID-19 cases continue to mount and hospitals throughout the state are facing near capacity challenges. An Froedtert & MCW Froedtert Hospital emergency department physician shares his front-line perspective.

From National Geographic

COVID-19 is surging. But Americans can still travel to these 75 countries.

Joyce Sanchez, MD, infectious disease specialist, and medical director for Froedtert & MCW Travel Health Clinic, is one of a panel of experts to weigh in on travel during the COVID-19 surge.

From Telemundo Wisconsin

Doctora contesta dudas de la vacuna contra la gripe

Este año es importante evitar contraer la gripe, ya que las comunidades de todo Wisconsin siguen luchando contra la propagación de otro virus en COVID-19. 

From WISN 12

Lupita Salas: Person of the Week

Lupita Salas finally left Froedtert Hospital after a six-month battle with COVID-19. Her brave journey continues as she recovers at home. This woman’s cup is half full!

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

COVID-19 will soon be joined by seasonal flu. What's a person to do?

With flu season around the corner, Mary Beth Graham, MD, Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist, reminds us of the importance of getting a flu shot and answers commonly asked questions about the vaccine.

From National Geographic

How clean is the air on planes?

Is flying a good idea during a pandemic? Before you pack your bag, stuff some expert advice in your brain. Joyce L. Sanchez, MD, medical director, Froedert & MCW Travel Health Clinic weighs in.

From U.S. News & World Report

Movie Theater Trade Group Establishes COVID-19 Protocols

Joyce Sanchez, MD, infectious disease specialist and medical director of the Froedtert & MCW Travel Health Clinic, joined national health experts for a virtual press conference last week to provide scientific and clinical recommendations to movie theaters and patrons.

From WUWM 89.7

Is it safe to go back to the gym?

Joyce Sanchez, MD, infectious disease specialist at Froedtert Hospital, tackles some tough issues around the risks of resuming your exercise routine in a public gym.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

‘It's a sign of humanity': Shorewood becomes first Milwaukee area community to require face masks in public buildings

Brady McIntosh, MD, an emergency physician at Froedtert Hospital, said The Lancet Journal recently compiled the results of 172 studies across 16 countries and determined that face masks resulted in "a large reduction in the risk of infection."

From 620WTMJ Radio

Heading out to celebrate this holiday weekend? “Don’t let your guard down” says infectious disease specialist

Joyce Sanchez, MD, infectious disease specialist at Froedtert & MCW health network, offered tips to ensure a safe holiday weekend and summer!

From CBS 58

Local doctors say it’s too early to know long-term impact on coronavirus patients

Coronavirus can affect people of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and races. It presents itself in many forms, from a fever to critical breathing complications. Froedtert & MCW infectious disease specialist John Fangman, MD, explains that we need more time to investigate the long-term impacts.


Changing coronavirus guidance, safety recommendations

Laura Cassidy, an epidemiologist with the Medical College of Wisconsin, was quoted in a story about another clarification from the World Health Organization about how COVID-19 could be spreading.

From Today's TMJ4

Are masks still necessary as public spaces reopen and health orders are lifted?

Julie Biller, MD, pulmonologist with Froedtert Hospital and professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, explains the overall benefits to wearing masks in public as our community opens back up.

From The Nurse Keith Show

Thoughtful health system response to COVID-19

Sue Huerta, PhD, MS, RN, and Mary Beth Graham, MD, FIDSA, FACP, explain how Froedtert & MCW health network responded to COVID-19, and how they will move into the future in this new normal.

From Today's TMJ4

COVID-19 survivor shares how he beat the virus

50-year-old Les Wilbert is back at home after spending 24 days in Froedtert Hospital, fighting coronavirus. Doctors put him on an ECMO machine and added an experimental blood filter. The device filtered molecules that caused inflammation out of his blood. He is one of three patients at the hospital to fully recover after this therapy.

From WISN 12

Bucks hold ice cream social for hospital workers

Staff at Froedtert Hospital, Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital and Froedtert West Bend Hospital got a sweet treat from the Milwaukee Bucks. Bucks President Peter Feigin said the team wanted to donate the ice cream left at Fiserv Forum to treat hospital workers amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

From Fox 6

‘It was terrifying:’ Milwaukee’s Judge Derek Mosley shares his COVID-19 journey

Judge Derek Mosley got to catch up in person for the first time with Christin Lissmann, the Froedtert Hospital ICU nurse who saw him through frightening moments.

From Fox 6

"You don’t want it:" Woman leaves hospital after spending weeks recovering from COVID-19

For the first time in roughly three weeks, Linda Wilson stepped outside. She left Froedtert Hospital on Monday, May 25, after recovering from the coronavirus and calls her health care team angels.


Keeping up with diet and nutrition during the pandemic

Makayla Emmer, RD, CD, registered clinical dietician with the Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert Hospital, joined Spectrum News1 WI to talk about some healthier food options and how to begin cutting meat from your diet.

From Milwaukee Magazine

414 heroes: How a housekeeper at Froedtert Hospital is making a difference during the crisis

Jodi Sklar is a housekeeper at Froedtert Hospital. In addition to her daily responsibilities of cleaning and disinfecting patient rooms, she has stepped in as “surrogate family member” to provide extra TLC for patients when visitors aren’t allowed.


Health care workers are taping smiling photos of themselves to their protective gear to comfort patients

Courtney Belot, radiation therapist for cancer patients at Froedtert Hospital, and some of her coworkers are putting their patients at ease. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Belot)

Plasma treatment offers hope to critically ill COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 patients in the region are being treated within the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network with convalescent plasma treatment. The first healthcare system in the Southeastern Wisconsin to use this therapy on a COVID-19 patient, Froedtert & MCW health network infused its first patient with plasma donated from individuals who have recovered from the virus

From Fox 6

Mask madness: Infection expert details how the coronavirus can spread, best practices to stay safe

Dr. Mary Beth Graham, the director of infection prevention and control at Froedtert Hospital, weighs in on wearing masks when we leave the house.

From USA Today

Fact check: No, you should not be wearing gloves in public

Experts from around the country, including Mary Beth Graham, MD, director of infection prevention and control at Froedtert Hospital, discuss whether wearing gloves in public protects you from transmission of COVID-19 virus.

Local student artist thanks staff with chalk art at Froedtert West Bend Hospital

Kinsley Kohls, a junior at West Bend West High School, created chalk art Thursday, April 2, at the Froedtert West Bend Hospital main entrance April 2 thanking staff for their dedication to patient care.

Girl Scout donates cookies to staff

Parker Smyth, a 7-year-old Daisy in Troop 1239 through St. Frances Cabrini in West Bend, donated 20 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the staff at Froedtert West Bend Hospital. She reached out to the hospital and asked to make the donation to show her gratitude for the hard work of the doctors, nurses and staff during COVID-19. Our hospital staff was so grateful that they wanted to thank her in person!

From Today's TMJ4

New businesses requiring face masks to combat the spread of COVID-19

Mary Beth Graham, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention & Control at Froedtert Hospital, associate chief of the division of Infectious Disease at MCW, explains why masks reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Car caravan says "thank you" in Menomonee Falls

Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital felt love and appreciation from the communities it serves as an estimated 75 vehicles turned on their headlights, flashed their four-way flashers and honked their horns to thank hospital staff and providers as they battle COVID-19 on the front lines. Reich Tool & Design of Menomonee Falls organized the car caravan. 

From Fox 6

Decades-old treatment giving new hope to coronavirus patients: 'I'm very thankful'

27-year-old Billy Schulz was given a 50/50 chance at survival after his coronavirus illness took a scary turn. The treatment he received made a huge difference in his recovery. Doctors used an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine — or ECMO — to give his lungs a break.

From the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel

Hospital chaplain spreads comfort during coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 has drastically changed how many of our staff work. For Randee Zitelman and our other hospital chaplains, that means they can't visit patients in isolation wards in person. Yet that hasn't stopped them from offering prayers and support in different but meaningful ways.

Business says "thank you" to staff

West Bend Mutual Insurance, a long-standing community partner of Froedtert West Bend Hospital, has generously donated a gift card to all Froedtert West Bend Hospital staff in appreciation for the work they are doing during these unprecedented times.


Staff and providers enjoyed complimentary El Fuego burritos, courtesy of U.S. Bank. The burritos were a "thank you" to our staff at Froedtert Hospital, Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital and Froedtert West Bend Hospital.

From Fox 6

72-year-old Milwaukee woman with COVID-19 released from Froedtert Hospital

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin staff gave a 72-year-old Milwaukee woman a proper sendoff when she was released Tuesday, April 14, after being hospitalized with COVID-19 since March 31.

April is National Donate Life Month

While the current situation continues to impact our daily lives, we want to acknowledge those who’ve given the gift of life through organ donation. April is National Donate Life Month, and our Donate Life flag flies proudly to mark the occasion. Thank you to all organ donors and transplant teams for helping others get a second chance at life.

From Fox 6

Pregnancy in a pandemic

Roseann Gumina, MD, Froedtert & MCW OB/GYN, is reassuring women who are pregnant during this time of uncertainty. "A mother and baby's health is a top priority," she says.

PPE donations: Thank you for your generosity!

Thank you to our generous community for the donation of 40,000 items of PPE to our health system. These items will help as we address the COVID-19 situation. We received gloves, gowns, masks, and even heartfelt letters, and staff from around the system sorted and organized them into 75 bins. Thanks to your generosity and supply chain improvements, we are no longer accepting PPE donations.