Aaron Ziegler: Navigating a Crisis

By Audrey Wierenga on June 16, 2020

The medical field is not a career for the faint of heart, especially in times of crisis when they are the ones we look to for guidance. Thankfully, we have tireless medical professionals like Aaron Ziegler (B.A. ’98) leading the way.

Ziegler works as an emergency room doctor and is the medical director for Aero Med at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. He felt drawn to medicine in high school, when he helped his school's athletic teams with physical therapy and first aid. He majored in pre-medical at Cornerstone University. His daughter, Aubrey, will be attending Cornerstone in the fall.

"As a college student, I interned with the Mayo Clinic," Ziegler said. "That was one of the things that affirmed my interest in health care."

As an ER doctor at one of West Michigan's largest hospitals, Ziegler has witnessed the effects of COVID-19 on the area's health care and safety measures. Since March 2020, Ziegler's roles at Spectrum have become solely focused on COVID-19 treatment and care. Numbers of cases have remained relatively low in West Michigan, but Ziegler and the Spectrum staff are prepared for surges, if and when they happen.

"It's given us an opportunity to explore infectious diseases and how they spread," Ziegler said. "We have standard precautions in the hospital, but now we are navigating the best ways to be prepared."

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, area hospitals like Spectrum have experienced daily and sometimes hourly changes to protocol and routine, along with all of the challenges that follow. The rapidly-changing information has caused confusion among the general public, leading to fear and uncertainty.

"At Spectrum, we're doing our best to help people understand when it's appropriate to go to the emergency room," Ziegler said. "For example, we'll have people come in to be tested for COVID-19 when they could have gone to a testing center."

On the flip side, Ziegler also says they are working to let the public know that it's safe to go to the hospital. "With all of the changing information, some patients are scared to come into the hospital for emergencies," he said. "They will come in later with complications from heart attacks or other emergencies."

In the meantime, Ziegler and his team are thankful to the community for rallying around health care workers during these trying times. As a Christ-follower, Ziegler also finds hope and perspective in God's Word.

"This life isn't all we have," Ziegler said. "Christians can still experience fear and financial concerns and uncertainty, but we know who is in control."