Why we Fiercely defy Sandy

Karen Cheung-Larivee

 Karen Cheung-Larivee

My heart goes out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy this week. I'm wishing everyone is safe and sound!

Luckily, here in the Washington, D.C., area, we were spared serious damage from what's being called the most costly storm in American history. However, it certainly disrupted the city's power, shutting down the federal government and the Metro, as well as the FierceMarkets office.

Nevertheless, the FierceHealthcare editors worked tirelessly to continue to write, edit and publish.

As an example of the crazy schemes we tried to pull off to get back to work: I was in New Mexico at a journalism conference this weekend when East Coast storm warnings hit. After my induction into the Journalism & Women's Symposium as a new board member Sunday, I rushed to the airport, paid hundreds of dollars to a different airline to catch that last trip back to D.C. before all airlines halted flights to the East Coast. "I have to make it home; I have to get back to work," I thought.

Other journalists I met at the conference had the same mindset--not working is not an option. Stranded with some 200+ female reporters and editors, we came up with some hair-brained ideas, including crashing on people's floors and tele-working, renting cars and simply heading East, and everything else, short of hitching a truck ride with a German polka band.

Luckily, it didn't come to that, and I made it home safely.

A lot of people ask where the name FierceHealthcare comes from. In fact, I often have to repeat it a few times when I introduce myself, making clawing gestures or Tyra Banks analogies. Like all the publications under the FierceMarkets parent company, our namesake comes from a Winston Churchill quote:

"You will make all kinds of mistakes, but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her."

We take that to heart at FierceHealthcare; it's more than just a slogan.

While other nearby publications' websites temporarily shut down, Fierce writers and editors worked remotely to file stories.

FierceHealthIT Editor Dan Bowman even left his wife and baby safely at home while he ran to a coffee shop for Internet access to file stories Tuesday.

Editor-in-Chief Gienna Shaw, in between light flickers and on-and-off Internet, also tirelessly edited incoming stories.

Similarly, when an earthquake unexpectedly hit D.C. last year, and many other downtown buildings evacuated and sent workers home, Fierce editors came back to the office right away and continued to do what we always do.

Those sorts of things are simply inconvenient working conditions and make me appreciate even more the amazing work healthcare professionals do every day and under extreme conditions, even when backup power fails.

I realize my work isn't the same as saving lives or directly affecting patients the way hospital leaders' work does, but I like to think that maybe my articles will help them to do their jobs better and that, in turn, will help patient care and healthcare overall.

It's a Fierce, committed team, and we want to help our readers during tough times.

Maybe we're glutton for punishment or maybe we simply don't heed weather warnings as well as we should. One thing's for sure--that's how much we care about our readers. It's been quite a year for storms and natural phenomenon, and we promise to continue to deliver news to you--power outage, be damned. - Karen (@FierceHealth)