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Departing Naidu lauds nurses, support staff for handling daunting challenges of pandemic
Dr. Naidu

It arguably has been the most trying time in the 59-year history of Manteca’s original modern-day hospital.

Doctors Hospital of Manteca’s 500 plus workers from housekeeping and engineering to nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and therapists have faithfully and without failure manned the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is the lesson Dr. Murali Naidu will take with him when he departs the chief executive officer post on Jan. 3 he assumed a month before the pandemic started in March 2020 to take on a similar job at Turlock’s Emmanuel Medical Center.

“It’s really the commitment and resilience people have,” Naidu said of the hospital staff. “In the hospital community we’re all together in our desire to help people . . . They dealt with physical and emotional fatigue in the face of the unknown at great risks to themselves.”

To provide an idea of the depth of the pandemic’s impacts on healthcare workers there have been 169 deaths tied into COVID-19 in Manteca alone. A number of those deaths have occurred in the intensive care unit.

It’s just not the fact the pandemic has caused a surge in deaths that can take its emotional toll on medical professionals in itself.

“People (are in health care) to help people,” Naidu said. “Early on in the pandemic we didn’t have all the science like we are used to in dealing with patients. What we felt was helplessness.”

That said Naidu said DHM nurses and staffers made sure “they were there for (critical COVID patients) and to hold their hands safely” to try and make sure patients in isolation didn’t feel they were all alone.

“I’m very proud of what our staff has done,” Naidu added. “They bring their heart to work.”

It underscores Naidu’s main takeaway from reflecting on his nearly two years at Doctors Hospital.

“The teamwork at Doctors Hospital of Manteca is phenomenal,” Naidu said.

As for people facing the current COVID-19 omicron variant surge, Naidu stresses what he has stressed since the start of the pandemic.

“My advice is for all of us to do what we have to be safe,” Naidu said.

That includes being vaccinated, wearing a mask, and social distancing.

The trained surgeon noted masks are definitely somewhat effective in stopping and slowing the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 as evidenced by the fact there was almost no flu cases this past year.

Naidu noted that medical care available in Manteca is cutting edge. He pointed to numerous examples at Doctors Hospital including the fact the medical facility now has 3D mammogram capabilities.

Short of specialized care such as transplants where you are best off accessing hospitals in the Bay Area that do such procedures on a routine daily basis Naidu said the Northern San Joaquin Valley is up to par — and then some — when it comes to healthcare services.

Naidu has been working with his replacement, Eleze Armstrong, to make sure the transition is smooth.

Armstrong joins Doctors Hospital of Manteca from Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, a Tenet sister hospital in San Luis Obispo, where she has served as Chief Operating Officer since 2018.

She previously served as the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Twin Cities Community Hospital, our sister hospital in Templeton. She started at Twin Cities in 2010 as Director of Imaging and Cardiovascular Services, and then moved into the role of Market Director of Neuroscience Services before becoming CSO.

Armstrong is a graduate of the Tenet Leadership Academy. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Administration from the University of Ottawa in Kansas and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. She is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Doctors Hospital of Manteca is one of the largest businesses in the community. There are more than 500 employees and a medical staff of more than 150 physicians.

 While offering the convenience and accessibility of a small hospital, Doctors Hospital offers many advanced clinical services. Private patient rooms, expanded and enhanced imaging services, emergency, pharmacy, ICU/CCU and obstetrical services are designed for the care and comfort of patients.

Doctors Hospital of Manteca is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. 


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email