“I survived Ebola. And I’m afraid COVID-19”.
Craig Spencer, an emergency physician from new York, which in 2015 to help fight Ebola in West Africa, told how he does in a typical day during a pandemic COVID-19. We had a long and very important thread.
Up at 6:30. Try to make more coffee, enough for the whole day, because the coffee shop near the hospital closed. Starbucks too. Everything is closed. Go to the hospital, and I have the feeling that today is Sunday. No one. Maybe it’s the rain or the cold that early. Anyway, it’s good.
Come on shift at 8 am. Calm morning streets immediately disappears. Bright fluorescent lights in the emergency room reflected off the goggles. The cacophony of sounds from the cough. You stop. Put on a mask. Go inside.
Receive assignments from the previous command, but almost everywhere the same, no matter the young patient or not: cough, shortness of breath, fever. Very worried about one patient, breathing is difficult so that even with maximum oxygen, which we can give her, she still breathes very often.
You immediately go to that patient. It becomes obvious what it is and what measures need to be taken. Spend a long and honest conversation with her and her family on the phone. It would be best to move her to intensive therapy until it became much worse. Begin to prepare, but…
Inform you that just received another patient in serious condition. You run to him. The man is very bad, it breaks. He also needs intensive therapy. So, two patients in the neighboring houses, both put a breathing tube. It’s not even 10 am.
Every hour until the end of the shift is about the same.
Condition report: a seriously ill patient, shortness of breath, fever. The oxygen level is 88%.
Status report: low blood pressure, shortness of breath, low oxygen levels.
Status report: the low level of oxygen, can’t breathe. Fever.
And so the whole day…
At some point after noon I understand that not drank water the whole time. Remove the scary mask is the only thing that defends you. Of course, you will be able to last longer: in West Africa during the Ebola epidemic you spent hours in a stuffy suit without water. Another patient…
A few hours later you need to eat. The restaurant nearby is closed. Everything is closed. Fortunately, the buffet works in a hospital. Grab something to wash their hands (twice), carefully remove the mask, eat as quickly as possible. Return. Put on a mask. Go inside.
Almost all patients are the same. We suspect each COVID-19. Wear disposable gowns, protective masks and glasses during the examination of each patient. The whole day. This is the only way to stay safe. What happened to all patients with heart attack and appendicitis? Everywhere only COVID-19.
When the shift ends, write directions to the next command. Everywhere COVID-19. Last week we learned how to quickly identify symptoms: low oxygenation, lymphopenia, increased D-dimer. Friends concerned about the lack of PPE in the city, you too are worried about it. In hospitals end devices for lung ventilation.
Before leaving, clean ALL your stuff. Phone. Badge. Wallet. Coffee mug. Everything. Drown in bleach, shoved in the package. Maybe hope not. Sure I processed everything? Just in case you work again. In such a situation, you cannot be too careful.
Go out, take off the mask. Feel naked and vulnerable. Still raining, but I want to go home on foot. This seems safer than to ride the bus or subway, plus you need to step away from it all. The streets are still empty — the absolute opposite of the situation in the hospital. Maybe people don’t know what’s going on?
Come home, get naked right in the entrance (all right, the neighbors know what you’re doing). Everything in the package. Wife is trying to keep his little girl away from you, but the child didn’t see dad for several days, and it is very difficult. Are you running in the shower. Wash off everything. This is the happiest moment. Now you can spend time with family.
Think about how difficult it is to understand how bad the situation is and how worse it will become — if you see only empty streets. The hospital’s overflow. Apparatus for artificial lung ventilation end. The sirens of ambulances did not subside even for a minute.
Everyone we treat has infected a week or so ago. The number of patients will increase clearly during the night — this happens for a few days. More people will go to the emergency room. There will be more patients that require constant monitoring. An even greater number of patients will need mechanical ventilation.
We were late and unable to completely stop the disease. But we can slow its spread. The virus can infect those with whom he came in contact. Stay home. Social isolation is the only thing that can save us. I’m not so worried about the impact on the economy, how about if we continue to save lives.
Some say that the virus is not. It exists.
Some say that it is not so bad. He is terrible.
Some say he won’t kill you. He can kill.
I survived Ebola. And I’m afraid COVID-19.
Do what depends on you. Stay home.
Every day I will go out and work for you.
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