From the Community
Yosi Nasseri (Private Practice | Los Angeles, CA) — In LA, things gave been shut down for a while. Our office is open. One office staff member has COVID-19 (at home, quarantined). Few emergency surgeries (even those have significantly slowed down). We have to justify doing cancer cases. Worried about infecting my two munchkins and my pregnant wife. But practicing crazy precautions. Just celebrated Passover with wife and kids, a bit sad but made the most of it. Trying to focus on catching up with research, writing papers, and loooooooots of family time.
Sean Langenfeld (Academic Practice | Omaha, NE) — In Omaha, we obviously have some COVID-19 patients, but the fear of the future is heavy. I continue to see "emergent" CRS cases, but our division is fractured, and I've been redeployed to emergency general surgery to free trauma surgeons up for the ICU. I do fear infecting my family, but I'm still living at home with a very elaborate and MacGuyver-esque approach to disinfecting when I get home.
Lisa McLemore (Kaiser | LA, CA) — Walking / exercising more to cope (but eating more too, so that’s a wash). Redeployed to ACS currently... ED & ICU deployment plans in place, but not started yet. Clinic changed to 100% telephone visits... MDT clinic, still seeing a few patients that need exams before formulating management recs & starting treatment. Postponed surgeries being ranked by order of need to resume elective cases once the threat lowers. Surprises - many patients actually deferring their own care / evaluation as they are fearful of coming into hospital. No postponed cases with angry patients & just the opposite (thankful / grateful that we’re still going to work). Bonus - commute in LA is now awesome 😎
Daniel Popowich (Hospital-employed | NYC) What “scares” me the most is how unprepared we were. Complacent and believed this would be no more than any other “infectious” scare somewhere in the world. In NY, this is a huge problem (not taking away from anywhere else, just high numbers). Where I live is where NY pt zero came from. Teachers in one of my sons school tested positive weeks before there was a huge alarm in the state. My hospital census (which is nearly 100% full at all times) is more than 80% COVID positive. Over 200 staff out of around 600 who have been tested, have been COVID positive. I miss operating. It is heart breaking to do virtual visits or in office visits and tell patients how long they may have to wait for surgery. What I do know is what we all feel. We want things to go back to “normal” ASAP.
Anonymous — I may have met my match for the first time with COVID. Living with uncertainty everywhere it not compatible with the surgeon’s personality! Personally, I was sick. For a surgeon to admit to being sick, you know they are really sick. In bed for weeks, crazy high fevers, just sweating, sleeping, and coughing. No voice from the rough cough. Unable to reach out for social support with said voice and physically distanced from family for fear of getting them sick. I normally run marathons. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. There were terrifying thoughts on it. I was going to die? If I should go to the hospital, the place that made me sick from exposure? If I should tell my family I really wasn’t ok? They couldn’t be near me anyway; it would only scare them. Luckily on the mend and back to work.