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A daffodil for each recovered patient: Brooklyn hospital adorns windows with faux flowers to spark hope

Maimonides staffers hang daffodil decals in the medical center's window. (Lorraine Carita)

A couple hundred flower decals have gone a long way for Maimonides Medical Center, where staffers have lined the windows with nearly 1,000 makeshift daffodils — each representing a recovered COVID-19 patient who has been safely discharged from the Borough Park hospital, and collectively spreading hopeful joy to healthcare heroes. 

“We were talking to our residents about the humanistic elements of medicine, which is really, how do you remember to be a human being in face of the stresses of healthcare?” said Dr. Jennifer Breznay, who helped spearhead the effort with her colleagues Mark Roberts and Robin Gitman, vice president of the hospital’s Academic Affairs Department.

“Mark and I both thought that the idea of really focusing on the successes — and on the good and the positive — was important, even as we face our darkest days,” she said, stressing that the project, which doubles as a source of positivity for patients and their families, serves as a “visual sign” of Maimonides’ success and growth during the current crisis.

As of Monday, 920 daffodils composed the field of faux flowers in the 10th Avenue medical center’s large, glass window display — which Dr. Breznay compared to a “community garden.” The flower itself symbolizes “rebirth and new beginnings,” according to the website TeleFlora, and is virtually synonymous with spring.

“It really is something beautiful,” she told Brooklyn Paper, adding that the Academic Department’s hope is that each hospital staffer gets to take part in the project in some way.

Lorraine Carita

Some discharged patients have even been able to hang their own daffodil, the doctor said.

“It’s important to remember that we’re in this together,” Dr. Breznay said. “At Maimonides, we’re all about celebrating success — even in light of very dark days and sad losses. We have to have hope for things to get better and that’s what we’re doing with this project.”

Breznay, Roberts, and Gitman all work in the hospital’s Academic Department which supports the medical center’s 400-plus residents who are still in training. 

Gitman, Dr. Breznay said, has often encouraged her team to come up with creative projects like this one — but, in times like these, support for staff is even more crucial, the doctor said.

But, at the end of the day, Dr. Breznay hopes that all who pass the growing display will feel a sense of “hope” when entering or leaving Maimonides Medical Center, and realize that “good things are happening here, too.”

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.

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