I was pulled from my clinical duties as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist to start my time as a critical care attending a bit early in light of COVID-19’s rampant spread throughout the greater Houston area. After completing my first week on service, I’ve come to realize how devastating this disease is from a medical and social standpoint. Families who have to be updated solely over the phone/video conference about their loved one dying from hypoxia and acidosis. Previously healthy patients succumbing to multisystem organ failure. Feeling like we just don’t know enough about COVID-19 or “good” therapies because… we don’t.
All isn’t bad though. I’ve seen many patients pull through. Many who have left the ICU and are well on their way to returning to their loved ones. Many who initially lost hope but slowly recovered. And many who continue to fight within the walls of the ICU.
The way that multidisciplinary teams have come together during these times is truly remarkable. Nurses have assignments that have stretched them to the extreme. Respiratory therapists are constantly having to adjust ventilatory devices. Physical and occupational therapists continue to work tirelessly to make sure these patients stay conditioned and can perform their activities of daily living. It’s this team aspect of medicine that drew me to critical care initially, and this pandemic has only strengthened my love.