I simply just wanted to say . THANK YOU to all of the healthcare workers who put their life on the line each day to help fight this virus that is taking the nation by storm. While some of us are working from home, there are many doctors, nurses, and healthcare officials who do not get the luxury of doing that. Below are a few doctors out of the many thousands of doctors working that I wanted to highlight If you get the chance or know a family member who is working in the hospital…tell them to thank you for their sacrifice and time.
1. Please state your name & Title & State you work in : Janice Uduma, DO, New York 2. How has COVID-19 affected your Personal & Professional Life? This is my intern year of EM residency, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more mentally drained since starting. Witnessing patients die helplessly to the hands of this disease, and not being able to do much about it because the hospital systems are overwhelmed and resources have been scarce has taken a mental toll on me. Not knowing if you will have the proper PPE when you show up to work the next day is anxiety-provoking. The fact that you are fighting an invisible enemy that seems to show no mercy stirs up worry. In my personal life, the things I used to do to escape the stressors of work, I can’t even do. I used to be able to go home and not talk about work, but everywhere I turn, my stressors are present(the news, social media, my panicking parents). I can’t even be around my family and friends anymore because I fear that me being exposed to so many positive patients, I may be an asymptomatic carrier. 3. What are common myths that you are hearing about COVID-19, that you would like to dispel? That it doesn’t affect people who are young. I have a handful of stories of 30 something-year-olds being intubated and not recovering well. 4. What steps can people take to stay healthy during the COVID-19? Stay home! Protect your loved ones. If you must go out, wash your hands/sanitize surfaces you touch! 5. Any tips or advice that you think people should know or be aware of?Take everything on the news very seriously. Being in the epicenter of it all, things are just as bad as it’s being portrayed, in fact with lots of darker stories being left out of the media. Pray for the world.
1. Please state your name & Title & State you work in : My name is Cynthia Anunobi. I am an Internal Medicine resident doctor in Georgia about to start my fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine this Fall in Miami Florida. 2. How has COVID-19 affected your Personal & Professional Life? Whew… I can probably write a whole paper on how COVID-19 has affected my personal and professional life but let’s just say, it showed me that anything can happen at any time and the importance of being adaptable, courageous and strong. As a doctor, you never really know what you sign up for. You take an oath pledging to uphold specific ethical standards and essentially promise to consecrate your life to the service of humanity in times of sickness and in health. But in medical school, they don’t teach you how to react in the midst of a pandemic. Circumstances like this really put you to the test. I never imagined being frontline in a world crisis but regardless, I have witnessed how we have come together as doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to combat this situation and protect those whom we promised to. (Follow my blog @lifeandmedicyn on Instagram for a look into a life of a Doctor) 3. What are common myths that you are hearing about COVID-19, that you would like to dispel? The most common myths I have heard are that COVID-19 only affects the elderly, those with other underlining diseases and that the SAR2-CoV virus is not as dangerous and fatal as the media portrays. However, in reality, the SAR2-CoV coronavirus is like no other virus before it especially pertaining to its pathogenesis. I can go in-dept but let’s just say, it causes some major damage to some major vital organs in the body. Additionally, it affects all persons of all ages or genders—and though the elderly and those with certain comorbidities (medical problems) may be more susceptible to worse complications, it does not discriminate against anyone. 4. What steps can people take to stay healthy during the COVID-19? The steps you can take to stay healthy are to be cautious and adhere to current recommendations of washing your hands, sanitizing regularly, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, following proper cough and sneeze etiquette and practicing social distancing. All these actions and behaviors help reduce the viral spread and keep you and others safe. 5. Any tips or advice that you think people should know or be aware of? COVID-19 is a dangerous virus but one that I believe can be contained and managed once equipped appropriately with adequate testing, medication treatments, and vaccinations. I know the social distancing is difficult, and many people don’t get the point if it (or don’t take it seriously) but it is helping and will continue to help slow the spread while the health care system and researchers treat infected patients and work on therapies and treatments, respectively. Like other viruses implicated in outbreaks, once the infection spread is controlled, we will still see infections but to a much lesser extent. This is unprecedented times but we can and will get through this together as a community!
1. Please state your name & Title & State you work in: Martha L. Castro, MD; Emergency Medicine Resident; New York, NY 2. How has COVID-19 affected your Personal & Professional Life? COVID-19 has affected different aspects of my life. On a personal level, the first thing I think of is not being able to see my family for an unknown period of time. Working in an ED, I have exposure to COVID daily and I have this fear that I can be asymptomatic and spread it to family and friends. Early on when this started to pick up and more cases started to present to the ED, there was this immense feeling of anxiety. I had this real fear that my family members could get sick and die. Once I started to realize how young patients were getting really ill and requiring ventilators, I became more worried that my colleagues or I could end up on a ventilator too. But as time has passed and seeing more and more COVID patients in the country’s epicenter (NYC), I realized most cases are mild and people have recovered so it has helped put my own feelings of anxiety at ease. I’m also a huge trip planner and had a trip planned for my 30th birthday in April and had to cancel everything. Not being able to travel or spend time with family/friends for my birthday is going to be really tough but I know social distancing during this time is more important. In terms of professionally, it has been a complete roller coaster. There is new information about the virus almost daily, the hospital protocols change often and what treatments may work are still undergoing research. As my colleagues and I try to digest new information daily, we are also trying to figure out how to implement new recommendations so that we can best treat our patients. There have also been many moments of frustrations when it comes to personal protective equipment. We’ve had to resort to buying safety glasses for ourselves or having them donated, reusing masks for up to a week and reusing face shields given the nationwide shortage. A lot of hospitals are going through this and I hope over time the situation improves. On a positive note, other specialties and the public have started to appreciate the work emergency medicine physicians do on a daily basis. 3. What are common myths that you are hearing about COVID-19, that you would like to dispel? The first myth is that only the older population with a pre-existing condition is at risk for serious illness due to COVID-19. My colleagues and I have taken care of young patients that require ventilators or hospitalization. Many of them did not have any known medical problems. It’s important for everyone, of all ages, to take this seriously and practice social distancing. The second myth is “I should stockpile as many supplies and groceries as I can”. This mentality leaves many people, many vulnerable people, without supplies as by the time they make it to a store, there is nothing for them. There were initial thoughts that COVID-19 was just like the flu. Although it can cause similar symptoms, the mortality rate of COVID-19 appears to be higher. The exact number is still fluctuating daily. A very common general virus myth is that antibiotics are part of treatment. The reality is that antibiotics are meant to kill bacteria not viruses. COVID-19 patients may have superimposed bacterial infections and antibiotics may be started for that reason. 4. What steps can people take to stay healthy during the COVID-19? I think the most important thing people can do to stay healthy is to continue to practice social distancing. I’ve noticed many people stay home but invite people over. This is not social distancing and it puts people and their families at risk. Check-in on family and friends through FaceTime, text or calls. This has been anxiety-provoking for many people and it’s important to keep everyone healthy mentally as well. If you have friends in the healthcare field, check on them as well. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Exercise regularly and stay hydrated. Use cleaning sprays and wipes to disinfect frequently touched objects/surfaces. If you have chronic medical problems, contact your physician so you have refills of medications you may need. 5. Any tips or advice that you think people should know or be aware of? As an emergency medicine physician, the best advice I can give is if you start to feel symptoms concerning COVID-19 please stay home and consider using telemedicine to consult with a provider. Showing up to an emergency department puts you at risk for contracting the virus if you didn’t have it when you came in. If you have symptoms, rest, stay home, hydrate and take Tylenol for fever/body aches. If you start to experience shortness of breath, chest pain, fever that continues more than 5 days and/or experience symptoms of dehydration (extreme thirst, less frequent urination), please go to your nearest emergency room.
1. Please state your name & Title & State you work in: Dr. Crystal Obih; Dallas, TX 2. How has COVID-19 affected your Personal & Professional Life? COVID-19 has affected my life in so many ways, in some ways good and in some ways bad. This virus has given me a reality check at how precious life is. Now I go to work with a bit of paranoia. Our normal daily routine has changed from freely going out and about, to properly planned trips. 3. What are common myths that you are hearing about COVID-19, that you would like to dispel? The common myths that I hear about COVID-19 are that “only old people can get it”.COVID-19 affects people of all ages and there has been a recorded death of even an infant. 4. What steps can people take to stay healthy during the COVID-19? An average human being touches their face about 20 times a day. So people should continue to wash their hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds. Do not touch your face if your hands are not clean. Use hand sanitizers, have disinfectant wipes ready in case you touch surfaces, etc . Take daily vitamins including vitamin C to equip your immune system. Last but not least, social distancing. 5. Any tips or advice that you think people should know or be aware of? COVID-19 is transmitted by respiratory droplets person to person contact through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets can’t fall up to a distance of 10 ft. You can inadvertently shake hands with someone infected and go-ahead to touch your face and the virus enters the body through the mucus membranes. I would advise everyone not to congregate in large crowds and to wear a surgical mask if you have to be in a group of people.
1. Please state your name & Title & State you work in: Tochi Jennyfrance Nworu, MD New York 2. How has COVID-19 affected your Personal & Professional Life? It feels like we’re fighting a faceless war we were never ready for. I struggle to find the words to describe how COVID-19 has affected me because I haven’t really had time to process. With a quickly evolving situation, every day brings a new set of questions, concerns, anxiety, and uncertainty. There has been so much fluctuation in what my workday looks like, what’s expected of me as both a resident and rising chief resident. I’ve had to step up in ways and assume roles that are very uncomfortable with patient care and in administrative roles. It’s taxing. I’m emotionally and mentally fatigued from all the experiences my Intensive, Emergency and Internal Medicine colleagues share. I also fear getting sick myself and hate the stress it puts on my family who worry about my well being. Things like lack of PPE, expanding our hospital census to accommodate more patients than we normally care for, increasing complex patients in a facility that generally cares for stable patients undergoing physical rehab have been huge sources of stress for us. With all this being said there is a sense of pride that I feel being apart of the fight against coronavirus. More and more calls to families and other colleagues end in “how are you and thank you for your service.” This is truly and humbling experience. In regards to my personal life, it’s been canceled. 3. What are common myths that you are hearing about COVID-19, that you would like to dispel? The biggest myth I want to debunk is that young people are not affected. FALSE. Healthy young people are in critical condition and among those who have died from this vicious disease. We all need to continue to do our part in helping flatten the curves by preventing spread. Doctors, nurses, aides, techs, custodial staff and everyone else who has to report to a health care facility are risking their lives to help another. All we ask is that everyone does their part in getting through this difficult time. 4. What steps can people take to stay healthy during the COVID-19? Continue to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and other measures that have been reiterated on the news. And please check in on your friends in the health care field. 5. Any tips or advice that you think people should know or be aware of? Mental health is just as important for yourself, and those around you as this time is extremely stressful and anxiety-provoking. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed.