HERO registry needs health care workers to share their experience from the frontlines

Posted at 6:50 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 21:12:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The HERO registry is a fitting name for those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, but it goes beyond that for those who now have a chance to study a drug many believe could prevent COVID-19 infections.

Williamson County is calling on all area health care professionals to join them in being a part of the HERO registry.

HERO stands for Health care Worker Exposure Response & Outcomes.

A network of what’s expected to be over 250,000 professionals, meant to help put a face to the stories of workers battling COVID-19.

“I look at my own situation and the poor sleep quality, the poor eating habits and I realize I’m just one individual. We have to unite as a health care community to really fully understand what this epidemic has done in terms of not just our physical well-being, but our emotional and mental well-being,” said Dr. Aaron Milstone, Pulmonologist at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin.

This is where the HERO registry becomes more than what you hear in comic books, and instead illustrates what life is like having to face COVID-19 every day.

These first-hand accounts can come from doctors and nurses, but they could also come from food service workers, physical therapists, clerks and who all play a role in the medical centers.

“We are really looking at a variety of issues in terms of burn out, in terms of stress and in terms of coping mechanisms. I’ve never seen a trial of this size and scope put together so quickly,” said Milstone.

Dr. Milstone of Williamson Medical Center says he’s honored to be a part of the registry and what could come after.

The first part of course is getting people involved, the second is helping to protect those very people, who protect us.

Once you’ve completed the online registration by visiting you’ll then be asked to take part in future test trials. Those trials could be as simple giving your account of daily life in the medical field from your perspective.

The very first trial has both Williamson Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center as two of only 40 other health care systems in the country participating in the study to test hydroxycholoroquine. The highly-talked about drug, considered by many to be the answer to preventing the virus.

With the help of this registry and the thousands expected to participate, Dr. Michael Wright of Williamson Medical Center says they now have the sample size they need.

“Health care workers will enroll in the trial. It will be randomized so that they will receive either a placebo or the active ingredient of the hydroxycholoroquine. They will take the medication for 30 days and after 30 days, they will be screened to see if they were infected with COVID-19 or not,” said Wright.

According to Dr. Milstone, as many as 15-20 percent of frontline health care workers become infected with COVID-19, putting tremendous pressure on hospitals to maintain the quality care we expect.


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.