My baby brother, also a doctor, posted this on FaceBook today. He’s an ICU doctor.
I’ve spoken to him and he sounded punch drunk with shock and fatigue. I’ve never been prouder of my baby brother. He is stepping into this challenge with strength courage and poise
Again, below was posted by my brother Dr David Rosen today March 25th.
What’s it like taking care of the sickest COVID-19 patients? It’s a completely different world. These patients are as sick as it gets, requiring maximum support just to maintain a normal oxygen and blood pressure. We throw everything we’ve got at them and the best way to describe them once we’ve done all that is that they just teeter on the brink.
They get a little better and then a little worse, but the net change is not that much. This pattern continues for weeks before we even get a sense of whether they can pull through. Meanwhile our standard medications are running low and we have to find creative ways just to maintain a medically induced coma so that they can adjust to a machine breathing for them. I don’t know if I’ve fully processed the experience of encountering so many critically ill and unstable individuals at one time.
The disease taunts us. Someone comes in and looks comfortable on only a small amount of oxygen and we think they’ll be ok. Then hours later they’ve rapidly deteriorated and are emergently placed on a ventilator.
This disease is humbling in many ways. It’s exposed the vulnerabilities in our ability to protect our health as a community. It’s exposed the vulnerabilities in how we allocate resources towards healthcare. And it’s exposed the vulnerabilities in our economy so that trillions of dollars are needed to prevent economic collapse. People will study the multifaceted impact of this pandemic for many years.
I’m humbled by the alacrity with which others are stepping up to help. I’m a trained intensivist so I have a duty to try and care for these patients. When I was working more heavily in the ICU, I would probably have a patient this sick only once every couple of months. Now we have dozens of these patients to care for every day. This world is foreign to me and I’m considered to be among the most qualified to navigate it, which is frightening.
So to have nurses, nurse practitioners, and other doctors who are not accustomed to caring for anyone in a medical ICU to volunteer their time, put themselves at risk of infection, and show an eagerness to help these individuals get better is very inspiring.
I’ve marveled at how everyone in the healthcare industry has been working extra to keep hospitals functioning efficiently even as it is pushed to the edge of what it can accomplish.
A hospital cannot exist without environmental services efficiently cleaning and disinfecting rooms to keep patients safe as they transfer from one unit to another. I’ve seen my hospital’s environmental services workers doing extra shifts to make sure the hospital continues to meet its necessary hygienic standards.
So many friends and colleagues have been trying to help in any way they can. Whether it’s donating PPE or just expressing words of encouragement, this is all very nourishing to those on the front lines.
I hope and pray we can withstand this barrage and return to normalcy soon. Especially because I’m gonna get a gut if I keep stress eating.
Post as shared on my Quora Timeline.