May 18, 2020
Heroes on the front line: Dr. Raghuveer Rakasi
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. 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.
Clinicians and other hospital workers sign up to work long hours, nights and weekends, 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, NPs, PAs and other hospital workers a chance to speak to you, our readers, in their own words. We asked that they share their simplest, most urgent lessons and messages as they face this new virus with no vaccine and no cure, a virus vulnerable only to our common human bravery, ingenuity and compassion.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first emerged, the hospitalists taking care of COVID patients (or COVIDists) at my organization knew that our community would need us more than ever. We took a nosedive into something without knowing the depth of it and being aware that we could have some fatalities among ourselves. We took up new roles, faced new challenges, learning new things every day, and evolving every step of the way. We had to change the way we practice medicine, finding new ways to treat patients, and protecting the workforce by limiting patient exposure, prioritizing investigations. We cared for patients who were helpless without their families being able to be around them during their toughest times. We spent additional time keeping their families updated. Thankfully, our administration was able to procure adequate PPE on time and supported us in every possible way.
Not only at work, but life has also wholly changed even at home. Terrified about the thought of bringing this disease home, we have restructured our daily decontamination practices. I have started sleeping separately, maintaining specific quarantine measures. I have not been able to kiss my 2-year-old for about two months now.
I firmly believe that this is just the beginning, and we are going to live with it for a long time. We have to adapt to a new normalcy. We should be prepared for this to come in waves. Putting aside our political views, we should stand united six feet apart, with a mask covering our brave faces, frequently washing our helping hands to overcome these uncertain times.
- Dr. Raghuveer Rakasi
Baystate Medical Center