Jul 13, 2020
Heroes on the front line: Labina Shrestha
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 the environmental services staff who keep their hospitals clean a chance to speak to you, our readers, in their own words. We asked that they share their simplest, most urgent 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 come around 6:30 a.m. every day and I make sure we have coverage. Most people have the choice not to leave home and to be safe. We have to wake up every day, leave our fear behind, and show up to work to do our job. Our job is important because in a way, we're also saving lives. It's important for us as a team to feel how important our job is. We keep the surfaces clean, elevator buttons, light switches. We could be scared and stay home, but we want to come in and want to do our jobs and keep everyone safe. There’s no turning around and saying ‘no.’ I did worry from the beginning because I have to balance my life at work and at home. For me, I make sure what I do at the hospital, I do the same at home: take a shower and disinfect everything I touch. I have not cuddled my daughter in so long. I'm keeping my distance. You want to do everything right.
- Labina Shrestha, operations manager of environmental services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, overseeing the team that cleans the entire facility, and mother of an 11-year-old