She had just rolled over in bed, snuggling
down a little deeper in the soft, silk sheets and pulled her comforter up to her neck when
the alarm went off. It’s 4.45 AM. Time to get ready for work. She tries not to disturb her
husband but he is also already awake. He has followed her schedule for the last 20 years
of their life even though he works in Information Technology (IT) and by no means need to be up before 6:00AM
but waking up at this time is one of the many ways he supports her medical profession.
It is a typical Monday morning for this physician who has a 40 minute commute to see her first patient scheduled for 7.00 AM.
She is not a coffee drinker but sometimes requires a small cup of green tea for that energy boost.
She arrives at the office at 6.40 AM and preps by reviewing her schedule for today. Hmm, she notes that 6 out of 15 patients on the schedule are coming in with respiratory / flu-like symptoms.
Highly unusual for the month of February when flu season is just about wrapping up and allergy season is still about 2 months away. Little did she and her medical team realize they were facing an unprecedented pandemic that the world was not ready for.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (abbreviated to Covid-19) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 ( SARS-CoV-2 ) is a highly contagious virus that made it’s first appearance in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China but quickly spread across the globe infecting over 2,600,000 million and killing more than 182,000 at the time of writing this article.
Healthcare workers all over the world are scrambling to save people affected by this devastating disease that causes the most non-specific symptoms ranging from loss of taste/ smell, sore throat, generalized malaise, dry cough, muscle ache/ soreness, mild – high fever, loss of appetite, stomach ache, diarrhea, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing on exertion, chest pain, air hunger, respiratory distress and respiratory failure.
Originally believed to be transmitted only by respiratory droplets, it is now believed that the virus might be aerosolized and remain suspended in the air for as long as 3 hours. Early in this pandemic, first responders answered calls to evaluate people who were having severe breathing problems initially without proper protection which put them at risk for contracting Covid-19 infection. Doctors practicing in emergency, inpatient and even outpatient settings started to make the connection that these new flu-like symptoms may actually be Covid-19 infection but since very little is known about this virus, proper precaution was not taken. There was a major delay in providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the frontline workers as cases began to grow exponentially across the United States especially in New York, New Jersey and Illinois. Hospital and healthcare workers began to feel the strain as ICU and hospital beds began to fill up with Covid-19 infected patients struggling to breath and required ventilators to keep them alive. State Governors were forced to recall retired doctors/ nurses to join the
frontlines despite the fact that the infection had a higher fatality in persons age 60 and older.
4th year medical students were conferred with MDs earlier than scheduled so they too can join the war against Covid-19.
Families who had 2 parent healthcare workers had to re-write their living wills and power of attorney as they were faced with the reality of them and their elderly parents possibly dying from Covid-19. Who will be left to take care of their young children?
Doctors, nurses, and other allied healthcare workers around the globe are working tirelessly to save those infected. These are unprecedented circumstances that truly illuminates the sacrifice that healthcare workers make to save lives. While the rest of the population are advised to “shelter-down” so they do not get exposed to the highly contagious virus, healthcare workers are donning basic PPEs to enter rooms where the viral concentration emanating from infected persons exceed the protection required by a biohazard level 4 lab!
Heroes that have died include –
Dr. J. Ronald Verrier (General Surgeon, St. Barnabas hospital, NY), Vianna Thompson ( Nurse, VA Hospital, Reno Nevada), Alvin Simmons (custodian, Rochester General
Hospital, NY), Dr. Frank Gabrin ( ED physician, New Jersey East Orange General Hospital/ St. Johns Hospital , Queens NY), Dr. Li Wenliang ( Chinese Ophthalmologist, Wuhan Central Hospital, he sounded the alarm before Covid-19 became a pandemic), Dr. Alfa Saadu ( retired British NHS physician of Nigerian descent, Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in southern England who was volunteering to care for Covid-19 patients) , Dr. James T. Goodrich ( Neurosurgeon, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx NY) , Dr. Desmond Adedeji (Great Western Hospital, Wiltshire), Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong( pregnant nurse, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital ), Carol Jamabo ( Caregiver, Cherish Elderly Care Bury, Greater Manchester) just to mention a few fallen heroes.
Please pray for all healthcare and essential workers as they work tirelessly to get us through this pandemic.
DO YOU KNOW HEALTHCARE WORKERS WHO DIED ON DUTY AND YOU WANT TO HONOR THEM?
Drop their names or
post a link to their tributes in the comment section.
Moji Ariyo, MD is a primary care physician at Emory University, Atlanta GA and Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo Nigeria. She too is playing her part in fighting the Covid-19 Pandemic.