Around the world, people are living in the fear of catching the coronavirus. As confirmed cases and deaths strike up, more pressure and demand are put on health workers who are, currently, risking their lives to treat others. Working from the front lines of this pandemic, Esther highlights a few of her struggles working at the emergency department.
How long have you been a physician assistant?
About two years.
What department do you work in?
Pediatric emergency department.
What is your hospital's procedure in regard to COVID-19 patient care?
We initially did not test children/peds for COVID-19 unless it was an admission, even if they had a fever or symptoms. If they were fine enough to go home from the ER, they weren't tested. Any admission got tested. Since there are more tests now we test anyone with fever/cough/vomiting etc.
What is the protocol if you (or another nurse) show signs of infection?
Stay home until 72 hours, fever-free.
Do you have enough PPE?
We get one N-95 mask for the week.
What is the biggest change your day-to-day has faced because of COVID-19?
Wearing PPE for 12-hour shifts is uncomfortable. Isolating patients and trying to go into the rooms as least as possible when normally I love to check on my patients frequently!
Describe your hospital's atmosphere.
I work at a city hospital in an underprivileged area. It's really busy. Recently, parents have been more scared to bring kids in because of COVID exposure in the ER.
How do you feel about the national news coverage of COVID-19?
I feel that the national news really exaggerates things and creates extreme fear by overly covering one subject continuously. It's scary to hear about it 24/7.
What is one thing you wish you could tell the country about COVID-19?
COVID-19 is real and many people can get extremely ill even if they don't have pre-existing medical conditions!
How is your personal life impacted by COVID-19?
I live in a two-bedroom apartment with my husband and two kids. There was no way not to be near them after coming home from work. I had a newborn at the time and was really scared to expose her in case I got COVID at work. It was really stressful and difficult.
Are there any stories of hope that you can share with us?
As we learn more about a disease or virus, in this case, we get better at treating it and I think that's happening now!
What advice can you give us for staying as healthy as possible?
WASH YOUR HANDS!
What can citizens in your area do to help healthcare workers fight COVID-19?
Wear masks when going out and avoid unnecessary contact with people. Again, always wash your hands :)