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 14

I went to visit the ICU today, I miss it. The patients that need complex management, their acuity, the nurses who are incredible, the respiratory therapists with their tricks to fit the ventilator to the patient’s physiology – amazing, it’s like art.

Some of my patients are beginning to get through this. One is still on ecmo [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, CF] but still alive, the other is now on 35% oxygen instead of 100%, one died, the other is tenuous. The national average (we think) is that 85% on ventilators for COVID-19 ARDS will die, so the fact that I’m only at 25% (1:4) so far, is amazing.

One of the more seasoned ICU nurses told me today that the toughest day she had was the first day I wasn’t in the unit. The team had gotten used to my style over the 9 days. When I rotated off, and others took over, they had a different style. It was touching to hear her say that. I changed a lot of things about the way we normally operate and made big demands of them. However, there’s something amazing that happens when a good doc teams up with a good nurse — there’s this synergy of thoughtfulness and creativity that comes together for the benefit of a patient. I want to go back to the front line. And it is going to take every available person to get through this.

Dr. Fife sees patients at the CHI St. Luke's Hospital Wound Clinic in The Woodlands, Texas. For an appointment call (936) 266-2150.

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