May 21, 2020
Heroes on the front line: Dr. Regan Marsh
Around the world, health care providers are on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus.
They are struggling to treat a disease with no known treatment, one to which no human has natural immunity.
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.
I moved to Sierra Leone at the peak of the Ebola epidemic. The thing that’s been striking about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s been bringing global health home. There's a frightening number of similarities with Ebola. The U.S. is the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. We recognized Ebola wasn't just a vicious disease but a huge deficit on the health system, and it’s the same with COVID-19. And like with Ebola, the poorest communities are the hardest hit. Another thing that’s been striking is the disparity associated with COVID-19 – it has affected so many black and brown communities in Boston. I’ve seen these disparities firsthand. The vast majority of patients are people of color and immigrants. A lot of that has to do with gross systemic inequities, poverty, access to housing. One nurse recently said, “You worked during other pandemics. Tell me what the upside will be to all this.” It brought tears to my eyes. I thought about that a lot and I think, on the upside, I've never seen people be as incredibly collaborative. There’s a great sense of solidarity. People are just nicer to each other. I think the health care community is evolving. It'll be interesting to see what sticks in the long-term.
- Dr. Regan Marsh,
Emergency physician in Brigham’s and
Women's emergency department,
Assistant professor of emergency medicine,
Director of clinical assistance for Partners in Health