As I write this, the COVID-19 crisis is in full swing in New York City. Boris Johnson was in the ICU in the UK. Pittsburgh is still bracing for the surge here, and every day brings a few more deaths. I have no idea where we will be at time of publication, so I won’t talk about theories, or treatments, or vaccines, or politics.
Instead, I want to thank each and every one of you for what you are doing and for what you are about to do, regardless of the course of this pandemic in our area. We may be hit hard; we may be relatively spared in the first wave only to be hit hard in the second as restrictions loosen. Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and now, uncertainty.
Thank you to the ED, ICU and Anesthesia physicians who are on the front lines risking their lives to treat patients. Thank you to all the Medicine generalists and specialists who are right there alongside. Thank you to the ENT physicians who risk it all with each trach, and to the OMFs. Thank you to the surgeons who risk exposure in the ORs. Thank you to the pediatricians who are coughed and sneezed upon, and thank you to the Ob-Gyns who deliver babies and stop bleeding and the Family physicians who see patients because the schedule of human biology doesn’t stop for a pandemic. Thank you to the psychiatrists for safeguarding the mental health of the public and healthcare workers alike. Thank you to the fellows and the residents who are stepping up before their time, and thank you to the senior medical students across the country who may be stepping up before even taking their oath.
Thank you to every physician who does anything in their power to help, whether or not it falls under the heading of clinical medicine. Thank you to all of you across the country who are advocating for patients, the public, nurses, hospital staff and each other in the face of PPE and medicine shortages. Thank you to each and every one of you who uses their social media influence to educate the public about the importance of staying home and wearing masks if going out is necessary. Thank you to each of you who see to it that rumors, racism and fearmongering are debunked while good information is widely disseminated.
Thank you to the research scientists among you who are working on vaccines and treatments. Thank you to the administrators among you who are working to keep your flocks safe in the midst of this onslaught. Thank you to the public health physicians out there who are using your pulpits to steer the masses away from disaster. Thank you for the politically active among you who are making sure our elected representatives pass legislation to protect our ability to deliver care during and after the worst of this pandemic by keeping our practices and hospitals afloat.
Thank you to the CRNAs, the ICU and ED and floor and office nurses, the PAs, the respiratory therapists, the EMTs, surgical techs, all the unsung support staff everywhere and every last environmental services and cafeteria worker. Thank you to all of your families, for bearing the worry and the strain and the risk of having you out there in the fight. Thank you to every essential worker whether or not directly in healthcare. Thank you to the public, who trusts in all of us to do the right thing in their hour of need, and who may look at us all with a little more love when this is past tense.
Thank you. Be strong, be wise, be careful and be brave. Good luck, and may God protect us all.