Here’s a guest blog from a friend and colleague who practices Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine and is also a Critical Care physician. I believe that she should remain anonymous for now. However, I was inspired by the emails and texts she has sent me and thought you would be, too. She’s sending me messages off the cuff – they are “raw” and not edited by her. However, I think that is best. She uses a lot of abbreviations and when I thought it was useful, I explained them in brackets. One day at the right time, I will tell you who she is and we can all thank her properly for her courage and commitment. Here are her COVID-19 Diaries – uncensored.
COVID-19 diaries – Day 1
I was on call in the ICU this weekend. We kept hearing about more and more COVID-19 cases in the surrounding area, so I knew going into the weekend that it was going to be tough. Our first COVID-19 case was admitted to the ICU on Thursday. The next day, on Friday, we had three. On Saturday, three more. Our sleepy little hospital’s 10-bed ICU expanded to 15 beds. Five patients rapidly became critically ill, requiring maximal vent support as they were in hypoxemic respiratory failure and ARDS [Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, CF].
I reassured the staff that we are a lot more safe with regard to personal exposure if the patient is on a ventilator than one breathing spontaneously who is coughing everywhere. One patient who is only 33 years old was whimpering like a child and looked like a child. It broke my heart. He’s better now that he’s intubated and I think he’ll pull through as he has no underlying medical problems. We are getting drugs for them but supplies are already dwindling.
I know people are saying it isn’t “politically correct” to call this a “Chinese virus.” We had the Spanish flu 1919, but in 2020, I am caring for several ethnically Hispanic patients who are desperately sick with a virus that originated in China, which they contracted in a small town on the east coast of the USA. I think it is good to remind ourselves that the world is very small when it comes to epidemics.
I will admit that I’ve negotiated backroom deals with the top ID doctors if I get really sick – Dr S will be my ID doctor, Dr E will do my right IJ, and Dr G will be my intensivist.