Frontline Sheroes: Soror Haydée Brown
Soror Haydée C Brown, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon, Clinical Assistant Professor
Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer, New York, New York
“Surreal” is the one-word description for our current situation. Face masks (N100 or N95) are reused and goggles are cleaned for another day. Medical floors are now ICUs and conference rooms are now medical care rooms and every patient in the hospital is COVID-19 positive. Every single patient is black or brown here. There are still those few who are admitted as a result of violence and/or trauma. Life seems to be going on in the neighborhood outside of these walls. Many are alone with no one to contact about their hospital course or the fact that they have died.
The routine remote continuous monitoring (telemetry) of patients for heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure is not always possible for the sickest patients. Rooms now converted from routine medical or post-operative care are now space for those not needing a ventilator, yet. On any given day in any given unit, 25 of 30 patients may be on ventilators with two patients to a room. Staffing is limited out of necessity or more likely, availability.
Medical staff are subject to repeated exposure to COVID-19 and most self-quarantine from family when off-duty. I know of at least two medical residents who have died from this novel coronavirus. The effect of repeated exposure to this virus that easily mutates from multiple positive patients is unknown although suspect. Is there an exposure dose related to infection and severity of infection? This remains to be determined.
Despite all of this I volunteer because I have at my core “the goal to help others” and know “protection for life” after this assault from COVID-19 must be the order of the day.