Voices from the Frontlines: Registered Nurse Fred Lyon Shares His Story

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This month, May 2020, marks the first annual National Nurses Month as designated by the American Nurses Association. For the first time this year, the celebration shifted from a week of appreciation to an entire month, and for good cause. Nurses are our modern-day superheroes. Sure, this may be a phrase heard often, but really let it sink in. Nurses this day and age truly are on the frontlines. As the world experiences one of the most life-changing pandemics of our time, we have nurses to thank for keeping us healthy, calm, and cared for amid uncertain days ahead.

As the month of celebration continues, we thought it appropriate to highlight the work of a local nurse. Meet Fred Lyon, a registered nurse who works at two of the large hospitals in Temple. He focuses his time in the Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), what can now be referred to as a war zone for the novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19. Fred is right there, in the hospitals of Central Texas suited up to go into battle on behalf of the patients experiencing the virus and fighting for their lives.

“Right now, things are much more hectic than normal,” shares Fred. “The ICU prides itself on being regimented and structured. ER [Emergency Room] nurses thrive in chaos, but the ICU thrives on structure and routine.

“With COVID-19, processes, procedures, protocols are constantly changing. This is very unique for an ICU environment. Days are hectic.

“Thankfully, we have not experienced a surge. But with the state reopening, we do not know what is going to happen. At any point, we could get a large influx of COVID-19 patients.”

One of the hospitals in Temple where Fred works has an 18-bed ICU. The floor has recently been converted to 26 beds to hold more COVID-19 patients. The hospital setting can now accommodate a mix of ICU patients, those who need ventilation, and acute care patients, who do not require ventilation but are too sick to go home with the virus. This has been seen across the state as hospitals try to prepare for the influx of COVID-19-afflicted patients.

Both hospitals where Fred works have also made incredible strides to reduce the spread of COVID-19 with negative pressure pods that release the air back into the room so as not let virus particles spread in other areas of the hospital.

“Temple’s hospital systems are prepared to increase capacity dramatically. Luckily, we haven’t needed that,” says Fred. “The last time I worked, there were only three COVID-19 patients. It would be ideal to see it stay that way.”

But, being a nurse, Fred knows the reality that things could shift quickly and when they do, he will be ready. That is the true resilience of those in the profession. Take for instance, the quick shifts that have already taken place to accommodate the virus. Those in the service of patient care do not give up. They adjust quickly.

“On the COVID-19 floor, there are a lot more protocols on how to care for patients,” says Fred. “Negative pressure is in place for protection. We practice ‘donning and doffing’ constantly to train ourselves on the proper order that you put on the gown and the order that you take it off. Touching your scrub top on accident could lead to exposure of the virus.

“Day-to-day activities that were once simple have become much more complicated. For instance, handling cardiac arrest in a COVID-19 unit now requires more protocols, and a limited number of team members. We do extensive training to be prepared when the time comes.

“Any time you are doing something different, you need practice. The nurses and doctors in the hospitals are practicing just about every morning to stay on top of the latest protocols. We started a system of ‘buddy nursing’ to limit the number of times a medical worker ‘dons and doffs,’ or removes his or her personal protective equipment (PPE). When you need supplies, your buddy nurse is there. Handling of basic patient needs require more assistance. Patient care has not suffered because nurses are adjusting.”

“Patient care has not suffered because nurses are adjusting.”

When asked how nurses protect themselves and each other while working, Fred explains the numerous protocols and procedures in place. There are drills on how to accept a patient into the unit, how many people need to interact with the contagion. The use of respirators has been critical in the ICU. But it does make communication difficult.

“Just being able to ask for supplies, sometimes you have to yell it to your buddy nurse. The simple things are so hard. Chest compressions with a respirator are very difficult. We find it more difficult to breathe in the respirator masks.

“But we wear them to protect each other and ourselves. I have a family. My fellow nurses have families. We are all in this together. And hospital leaders are in constant communication with others in the fight, around the nation for best practices for procedures. New York and other areas who have been hit harder by the virus have helped to set an example.

“We are all in this together.”

“Quarantining was not designed to beat the virus, but to handle a potential surge,” reminds Fred.

When asked how he got into the field of nursing, Fred shared that his wife, who was studying to become a physician’s assistant (PA), would come home and tell him about the incredible nurses she worked with daily.

“Growing up, I had no medical background,” Fred shares. “I thought of nurses as anyone else did, until I discovered the breadth within the field. I had no idea there are so many roles to play and so many jobs one can have as a nurse—industries such as IT, pharmaceuticals, even insurance employ nurses.

“The opportunities that a nursing degree affords you are abounding. That was why I originally pursued the field. I was a little bit of a late bloomer. I graduated nursing school when I was 34-years-old after attending Texas Tech Nursing School. I knew I eventually wanted to transition to bedside care.

“After getting some experience under my belt, I was drawn to the ICU. They take the most ill patients with the most interesting cases and I always wanted to learn the ‘why’ of what was happening with my patients. In other departments of nursing, one does not always get to know why someone is sick, or if the drugs are working. In the ICU, you meet patients with rare, life-changing diseases.

“I get to talk to the doctors and speak to the residents. Sometimes the physicians and nurses are learning about issues together. I am exposed to very rare patient cases every time I go into work. I am always learning something new.”

Along the way, Fred learned the value of a nurse to the patient and the patient’s family. Many times in ICU settings, there is a team of doctors evaluating the case. This can sometimes create distance between the doctor and patient. But being a nurse means you are there for the post-evaluation, on the journey with the critical care patient, every step of the way.

“The emotional support needed for patients can be the most challenging part of my job,” says Fred. “You struggle because you want to be a beacon of hope—want to maintain hope. You find the happy medium to give hope, but to also how to be realistic. In the ICU, someone’s family member may not live or may not be the same person the family knows and loves when ready to go home.

“I wish I had a good answer for people, I really do. I always say, ‘you are in my prayers. Remember, all the good parts and the happy moments that you had with your loved one.’

“I think there is no magic advice, just being there and letting them speak. Let them cry on your shoulder. I know I don’t have anything life-altering to say, but I just want to be there for that person—just to be a person that is there and understands—that can sometimes make all the difference.

Fred speaks humbly as he talks about his job with such care and passion. When asked how to keep up stamina when dealing with such heavy subject matter and real-life issues, Fred shares, “A combination of things keep me going—family, coworkers, seeing my girls when I get home. Having somebody there at work who is going through what I am going through really helps.

“The community has been fantastic. At the hospital, people are walking around singing. Folks have stopped me and said, ‘thank you’ after work when I am at the grocery store. It all matters. I am really taken back when I receive the appreciation. I am just doing my job and that sort of feedback keeps me going.”

Reflecting on the recent pandemic, Fred shares, “I read the news just like everyone else. It is scary. There is always a risk and it is scary. But to see the community come together gives me hope.”

Inspiring hope for fellow nurses going through a challenging time, Fred offers, “Don’t let yourself get so overwhelmed. Make sure you are there for one another. If you are having problems emotionally, spiritually, financially, lean on one another.”

He reminds us of the importance of staying connected. He is a true hero. He is a nurse. Thank you to Fred and all the nurses out there. We are forever appreciative.

Temple Health and Bioscience District Announces E-Learning Series Offering

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April 27, 2020


Temple Health and Bioscience District Announces E-Learning Series Offering

Temple’s not-for-profit, city-supported incubator offers new online resource for startups and professionals during COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders

TEMPLE, TEXAS Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD), the nonprofit, city-supported bioscience incubator, is proud to announce its monthly THBD E-Learning Webinar Series, now available in full online. THBD’s E-Learning series features notable industry speakers as a resource for entrepreneurs, startups, researchers, and health-related professionals. The program is broadcast live on the last Tuesday of every month at 12 p.m. CST. Free registration and prior webinars are available at templebioscience.org/elearning.

The next three upcoming webinars include relevant topics of how to cope with the current crisis and maintain your business. On April 28, Cynthia Rando, CEO of Sophic Synergies will speak about keeping your business on track during COVID-19 (click bit.ly/THBD42820 to register). On May 26, Dr. Anne Crowley, a licensed psychologist will speak to mental health and how to cope. On June 29, Pete Mastin, CEO of Jolokia, will speak to how to use video technology so your business can thrive in a socially isolated world.

“This is an important time to offer our community the opportunity to engage in online education with healthcare and medical technology experts,” says Annable. “This valuable resource is one of the ways we at the Temple Health and Bioscience District can give back amidst these perilous times. With more time at home, we hope the e-learning series webinars will not only capture the attention of Texas startups and professionals but also entrepreneurs worldwide.”

Speakers are vetted and selected by the team at THBD and are chosen leaders in their fields representing a variety of organizations relevant to the biotech, medtech and entrepreneurial communities from around the nation. Recent presentations feature speakers from such highly regarded organizations as NAMSA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The live webinars allow the opportunity for listeners to engage with the speakers and ask questions. Accessible 24/7, all content can be found online at  templebioscience.org/elearning.

Those interested in becoming a future presenter and can speak on topics surrounding medical technology, professional services, or healthcare can submit a proposal to Tami Annable at tamia@templebioscience.org.


  • “Keeping your business on track while riding the COVID-19 roller-coaster: Maintaining Human Factors Regulatory Process” presented by Cynthia Rando, CEO of Sophic Synergies, April 28, 2020 (Register Now)
  • “Managing stress and anxiety during a national emergency and financial downturn” presented by Anne Crowley, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, May 26, 2020
  • “How to empower your business community to thrive in a socially isolated world using video” presented by Pete Mastin, CEO of Jolokia, June 29, 2020


Tune into THBD’s E-Learning Series Webinars online here: templebioscience.org/elearning

View THBD’s calendar for upcoming webinar topics and dates: templebioscience.org/events

Please note, as a result of COVID-19, other THBD events and offerings have been impacted. The THBD Scholars Program has been cancelled out of an abundance of caution for the health and wellbeing of students and mentors in the program. In addition, the THBD Annual Symposium set to take place this fall has been postponed. For more updates, visit templebioscience.org.


Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) is a biotech/health related incubator. THBD provides laboratory and office space, cutting edge technology, mentorship, and collaborative partnership opportunities to early-stage startups from concept to commercialization. A taxpayer-funded nonprofit and only one of its kind in Texas, THBD was created by legislation to support the economic development of central Texas’ growing biotech corridor. THBD grows twenty-first century jobs by fostering bioscience education, innovation and healthcare in central Texas. To learn more, visit: TempleBioScience.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Templehbd.



Media Contact:
Ashley Schlosser
(512) 968-0562

Bioscience district’s 3D printer used to make surgical masks

By | About THBD, Industry Happenings, News, Press Coverage, Startups, Tenants | No Comments

April 27, 2020
Temple Daily Telegram | By Janice Gibbs

The Temple Health and Bioscience District, along with SiMMo3D, are working with Baylor Scott & White-Temple to design a surgical mask that can be printed on the district’s 3D printer.

SiMMo3D is a tenant of the Bioscience District lab and office facility. It develops and manufactures medical models used in education and medical training.

The Bioscience District board agreed to support the effort with $5,000, and to look for support in the community.

Tami Annable, Temple Health and Bioscience District executive director, said she was working with Baylor Scott & White-Temple and the Baylor Scott & White command center in Dallas.

“There is critical shortage of surgical gowns and N95 and surgical masks,” Annable said.

The N95 masks would require Food and Drug Administration approval so the district decided on making surgical masks, which would likely have a quicker turn around.

“Credit for the mask design goes to the (National Institute of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Veterans Health Administration, and America Makes,” said Colin Dodson, co founder of SiMMo3D.

Medical grade resin was used in the initial mock-up and resulted in a too rigid mask, Annable said.

SiMMo3D started adding a more flexible resin to the material. The third try appeared to work the best, she said.

Five individuals at at the Bioscience District wore the masks for at least four hours over a weekend to determine if there was going to be any irritation, there wasn’t. The masks can be sterilized and reused.

“Shannon Wetherbee, executive assistant at the Bioscience District, wore it for two days so she deserves kudos,” Annable said.

The District’s 3D printer can make 11 masks a day, seven days a week.

“Over the next several weeks we’ll make as many masks as we can, while we can,” said Thomas Baird, president of the board.

Area Rotary clubs are going to help pick up the costs of manufacturing the face masks, Annable said.

“It’s all about protecting the health care workers and to illustrate what the Bioscience District can do to help Baylor Scott & White, Annable said.

The board unanimously decided to waive the April and May 2020 rents for its tenants.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Baird said.

The only tenant who has been coming to the facility is Dodson from SiMMo3D to help with the surgical mask project.

The Bioscience District is working with real estate advisory firm Newmark Frank and Knight to determine how to best adjust its focus. When the Bioscience District was formed, the science landscape in Temple was different. With the assistance of the Bioscience District, Scott & White and Texas A&M recruited renowned researchers and were instrumental in developing a west campus as its research facility. Texas A&M University Medical School had a large presence in Temple and had researchers both at Scott & White and at the Temple VA.

The Bioscience District will continue to focus on startup companies while also supporting the new project to engage medium and and large life science  programs.

Newmark Frank and Knight is working with the organizations to develop a science eco-system study to be used to attract new businesses to the area.

The Bioscience District Board is developing committees that will be made up of executives and business leaders who will help lead the effort.

Staying Strong Amid COVID-19

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Temple Daily Telegram
Temple Chamber Focus on Business

The mission of the Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD) is to grow twenty-first century jobs by fostering bioscience education, research and healthcare in Central Texas. In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the THBD team is shifting the ways we serve so that our community can continue to benefit, but from a safe distance with precaution. Our thoughts go out to all of those already impacted by this pandemic. The THBD team encourages the community to utilize resources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local trusted news outlets to stay well informed.

Please note: THBD will be closed to the public until further notice; Visitors are invited to take a virtual tour of the lab on our website; To limit undue risk of coronavirus exposure, the THBD E-Learning Series will be conducted ONLINE ONLY until further notice. Learn more at templebioscience.org/programs.

Thank you to the tireless medical personnel who put themselves at risk every day on the front lines to save lives, and thank you to our community for the everyday sacrifices we are all making to keep our community safe. COVID-19 has brought the world together with a singular sense of purpose. We will overcome this pandemic and be stronger for it.

Monitoring MedTech Advancements in Temple

Whether you have lived in Temple for years or are just getting to know our growing city, you are sure to have noticed the influx of medical and technology jobs across the city. Last year, Temple was recognized by Smart Asset as a “Top 10 City to Work in Tech,” thanks to affordable cost of living and comparatively high wages. As the biotech industry in Central Texas continues to flourish, one local startup is pushing the limits of possibility and pioneering new medical technology.

In 2019, Stan Marett, President of MR3 Health, Inc., met THBD Executive Di-rector Tami Annable at THBD’s Annual MedTech Startup Symposium and Pitch Competition. Marett opted to attend the annual symposium and participate in the pitch competition. During this competition in Temple, individuals were given five minutes to present a new product they hope to bring to market. The judging panel of entrepreneurs, healthcare and medical device experts awarded Marett and MR3 Health third place in the competition.

After the competition, Marett wanted to learn more about what the only tax-payer-funded nonprofit bioscience incubator in Texas has to offer. During a tour, he realized THBD’s proximity to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Baylor Scott and White made the incubator an ideal place for MR3 Health.

Designed to help proactively connect physicians and patients through remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices, MR3 Health aims to prevent complications associated with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure. The devices monitor patients daily to identify and communicate alerts to the patient and their healthcare provider to indicate the possibility of a high-risk event.

Now a tenant at THBD, Marett hopes to work with doctors and patients in the Temple area to provide RPM services and create a strategic relationship with Baylor Scott and White that can be replicated in other areas. Additionally, MR3 Health aims to engage with the VA for studies that can help to improve new products and services.

In December 2019, MR3 Health was recognized as a “Top 10 Patient Monitoring Pioneer” by MD Tech Review. This national distinction recognized MR3’s foot sensor, TempTouchTM infrared dermal thermometer. The device takes temperature readings and uploads them to cloud-based technology to track changes and alert physicians of any problems. Marett and his team optimized the product for today’s market by enabling Bluetooth technology and a smartphone app to make the technology accessible and effortless for patients to use.

While offering financially accessible products for patients and providers is top-of-mind, so is patient compliance. Readings are only measurable if taken by the patient. Rather than relying on patients to remember to check their readings, MR3 Health pings patients who miss a daily reading and transmits early alerts to clinicians.

“We are partners in healthcare,” says Marett. “As we grow, we will continue to ensure patients have accessible tools to track their own health and improve their outcomes. We look forward to continuing our research and building upon valuable partnerships in Temple to help patients and providers manage care effectively. We are excited to be part of the Temple Health and Bioscience eco-system. We look forward to growing our presence in Temple.”

Source: April 2020 Temple Chamber Focus on Business