Apr 17, 2020
Heroes on the front line: Dr. Harry Schrager
Around the world, health care providers are on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus.
Many are struggling not only to treat a disease with no known treatment, one to which no human has natural immunity. They are also facing an unprecedented global shortage of the masks, gowns and gloves known as personal protective equipment, due to international manufacturing shortfalls in the face of the pandemic. That equipment is essential to preventing health care workers from getting infected themselves and from passing the virus to patients and to their own family members.
Doctors and nurses and physician assistants and other health care workers sign up to work long hours, nights and weeks, away from their families. But never in our lifetime have they been asked to put their own health and their loved ones’ health at such risk.
At Coverage, we are giving Massachusetts doctors, nurses, PAs and NPs a chance to speak to you, our readers, in their own words. We asked that they share their simplest, most urgent messages as they fight this new virus with no vaccine and no cure, a virus vulnerable only to our common human bravery, ingenuity and compassion.
We have worked to prepare as much as possible for what could be expected in terms of a tsunami of sick patients. We’ve converted units to ICU units thanks to volunteers and physicians from critical care, cardiologists, and intensive care and acute care hospitalists. We’re prepared. We’re ready to take care of patients, and we’re hoping everyone in the community is doing their part to flatten the curve by social distancing and hand washing, so when the sick patients come we won’t be overwhelmed. It may seem rather overly simple and harsh to be staying inside, but this is what will make the difference. There are published studies showing that pre-symptomatic people who feel completely well are shedding the virus. They say, ‘Oh I feel fine to go out,’ and then 12 hours later, they have chills and a cough and may have exposed hundreds of people to the virus. It’s important for the community to stay put—that way we’re not letting this virus multiply exponentially.
- Dr. Harry Schrager, infectious disease physician,