A Doctor’s Diary: Covid-19 recoveries are cause for hope

(The fifth installment of a special Efe series featuring the first-hand account of pediatric surgeon Colleen Fitzpatrick, who offered her support to an ICU for adults at a community hospital outside New York City, the global epicenter of the coronavirus)

New York, May 9 (efe-epa).- While the work of taking care of Covid-19 patients can be difficult and challenging, I have also seen some really positive things.

First and foremost are the patients who get better and are able to be discharged to home. I remember a specific day in the ICU when we sent one of our patients home.

Usually patients go from the ICU to a regular floor before they are discharged from the hospital, but for several days in a row, the floors had been so full, we were never able to transfer this patient out of the ICU.

When he was finally well enough to go home, we discharged him directly from the ICU. He had changed into his regular clothes before leaving and I remember being surprised to see someone in street clothes in the ICU and then I realized it was our patient.

As he left the unit, everyone briefly stopped what they were doing to clap for him.

It sounds very simple, but it was a little emotional.

There is a tradition in most hospitals taking care of Covid patients to have a Clap Out as patients leave. It is a really nice way for everyone to celebrate the success.

And there has been success globally. Despite the pandemic leaving more than 250,000 people dead worldwide, statistics suggest the number of patients recovered globally exceeds 1.3 million, more than a third of all cases. And here in New York, nearly 56,000 of the 327,000 confirmed cases have recovered.

Another really positive experience has been the overwhelming support of the community.

Walking around my neighborhood, I see signs and pictures in the windows of many houses thanking health-care and essential workers.

Local restaurants regularly bring food to the hospitals, so breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided for the staff. In one of the units, letters from school children with expressions of gratitude and encouragement were posted.

A friend of my family cooked meals for me so I would not have to worry about going to the grocery store or having to cook for myself.

Seeing how people can work together has been inspiring. Many people, including me, are working outside of their normal roles which, admittedly, can be a little scary and a bit uncomfortable.

People have been willing to stretch themselves to meet the challenges of fighting this disease and have supported each other along the way.

There is a real sense that we are stronger together. I could not have asked to work with a better group. EFE cf/dr

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