Who are the heroes?
Living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, due to my job I’m still one of the ones who is going out in the world to my work on a daily basis. And I’m also engaged in #medtwitter, connected to friends and colleagues throughout the country. And in so doing, I’m struck by the heroes I see each and every day.
I want to just take a moment to acknowledge the heroes. And my acknowledgement in this blog post is a form of a prayer of gratitude. I see the people I witness on the front lines, my doctor and nurse and respiratory therapist and pharmacist colleagues, working in the ERs, hospitals, and ICUs, taking care of patients with no insignificant risk to themselves. I think of my ER colleagues I trained with in residency and my ICU colleagues now. I think of the clergy member who gowns up to visit a sick COVID-19 patient to care for their soul.
I also see our people in the clinic, working with our respiratory patients in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak: nurses, nurse practitioners and PAs, docs, MAs, respiratory therapists, physiologists, echo techs and radiology techs. I see our nursing team answering phone call after phone call, as patient visits thin and more moves to telephone calls and questions than ever. I also see the screeners and greeters at the door, the cafeteria workers, the people in the lab processing tests. I see my assistant at work, my right-hand man who witnesses me in my most stressed moments and never judges or takes it personally, and helps keep me calm. I see the clinical research team working to sort out how to care for our patients already in clinical trials and keep them safe.
I see the housekeepers in the clinic and hospital, who are cleaning the rooms, at no insignificant risk to themselves, and all surfaces to keep us all safe.
I see our team behind the scenes, our clinic and hospital leadership meeting daily, multiple times per day, evolving strategies as the situation evolves, tirelessly working out how to best serve our patients, our community, and keep us all safe. I see our basic scientist teams working to develop a better COVID-19 test, designing PCR primers and making viral media and designing our own test kits. I see our IT colleagues designing and soon deploying a video telehealth solution for use to take care of patients while they stay at home.
I see our team on Team PHenomenal Hope setting scheduling multiple meetings and working after hours to develop ways to can help the PH community during these challenging times.
I see the people who continue to care for those at most risk: patients in nursing homes and care facilities, and family members who love and care for those who live with chronic disease.
I see the Uber driver who drove me from hospital rounds to my clinic the other day (separate campuses) and told me how he is protecting his car, riders, and self in this pandemic. I see the food delivery person who brought me curry from my restaurant last night. I see the OneFold breakfast cafe staff (down to one counter person and one cook), who took my order on the phone and brought it to me at the door.
I see the workers at my local Sprouts grocery store, keeping our community supplied with nutrition during this crisis. I see the leadership in my condominium developing strategies to keep our multi-generational residents safe and flatten the curve.
And through Twitter, Facebook, and texts and phone calls, I see the many people now off from their jobs, or working at home with their kids out of school, balancing this temporary new normal, but connecting with one another, sharing stories, prayers, and positive vibes. By staying home to keep social distancing and flatten the curve, you are helping the heroes I mentioned on the front lines and you’re literally saving lives.
This COVID-19 pandemic will call all of us to respond in this time of crisis. Some of us directly through our work on the front lines, others of us keeping the healthcare operation going and helping us get food and essentials, and all of us doing our part to minimize the spread and slow down the Coronavirus. Let us remember that we are all in this together, friends, and even though we are social distancing are definitely in this together. Let us continue to spread love and not the virus.
Stay safe, friends and PHriends.
Patricia George MD
PH doc at National Jewish Health, Team PH athlete, global citizen
Help me: This list is not comprehensive. I am sure there are people I’ve left off.
Please share who you’re thankful for in this COVID-19 crisis. Who are your heroes?