May 5, 2020
Heroes on the front line: Suzanne Cook
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.
It’s stressful, but a lot of the stress level I’m experiencing is outside the hospital. I'm living at a hotel because my husband has health issues and I didn't want to bring this home. I FaceTime every night with him and my kids. I can’t think of more than a month at a time. Because our patients are restricted from families at their bedside, I feel like we’re their family. We try to talk to them, even the ones who are sedated. For those who don’t speak English, I’ve been using the iPad translator system. These people are just so frightened. As hard as it is, we’re all there together working. I want people to know that, if they do come into the hospital, we’re at capacity and sometimes more but we’re doing everything we possibly can. Just know our hearts are full of hope. Even if you can’t see our faces behind the masks and goggles, know we’re smiling at you.
- Suzanne Cook, RN, Tufts Medical Center
Normally works in interventional radiology,
now works in the COVID ICU
Mother of a 20-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 15-year-old