By Dr. Nicholas G. Conger
During disease outbreaks, healthcare workers risk their own safety to care for others. Following public health guidelines and restrictions will help keep you well and out of the hospital, and it will allow healthcare specialists to work as safely as possible, which protects everyone.
Memorial Hospital healthcare workers have responded to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic with compassion and courage. Naturally, anyone exposing themselves to the risk of infection would be concerned. Healthcare workers not only are concerned with caring for COVID-19 patients, even in a controlled environment, but they also face the fact that patients present a variety of symptoms. Some experience flu-like symptoms, including body aches, fever, coughing, sneezing, chills, or shortness of breath. Therefore, many healthcare workers on the front lines, in the emergency department and clinics, know they could be exposed at any time. Memorial has dedicated much time and effort to make the working environment as safe as possible, including masking everyone who is interacting with patients at any level.
Initially, protective personal equipment (PPE) was in very short supply, and staff employed unusual measures to minimize PPE usage while still staying protected. However, the shortage has eased up.
The greatest power we have right now is patience. As we move forward, we are going to come out of these widespread restrictive measures and get back to a more normal lifestyle. Hopefully this pause has provided enough time to increase our PPE supply chain and testing availability and to fine-tune the best way to care for patients.
Dr. Nicholas G. Conger is an infectious disease specialist who practices with Memorial Physician Clinics in Gulfport. He is board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Reach him at (228) 575-2700