Today I moved a step closer to protecting my patients and myself, I was officially fitted for an N95 mask and a CAPR (an advanced powered air purifying respirator for protection against aerosolised and airborne particulates). I left the fitting with one N95 mask with my name on it in a brown lunch bag. I am grateful to have it and grateful that the two hospitals at which I maintain privileges are at last making sure we’ve all been fit. Until today, none of the five ENT docs in my group had been fit at these facilities. That concerned us because we have recently discovered the high rate of COVID19 infections in ENT doctors in China, Italy and Iran. Now we at least each have one mask to get us through 5 encounters (assuming it doesn’t become contaminated). The hospitals do have supplies now, but we’re told they do not have a lot. Reprocessing of masks is also ongoing to try to “recycle” and reuse. I just read that people that will be wearing these masks should NOT wear makeup and lipstick to work as that is the number one reason they cannot be reprocessed. Spread the word to your nursing and physician friends please.
I am praying for the heroic doctors and nurses in New York and around the world who are working untold hours in dangerous situations and watching so many suffer and die. I hope and pray that we will not see this repeated across the country and I again commend your for staying home and beseech you to convince your friends and family to stay home. This virus takes young people too, and sometimes quickly.
On a personal note, one of my relatives is suffering alone in a hospital, on hospice now from what might be COVID19. Even if it isn’t the infectious agent in her pneumonia, it is the cause of her suffering without family. There are visitor restrictions in most hospitals now, and people suffer alone. When we are on the other side of this pandemic, I hope we can once again hug. I miss hugging and I’d like to hug my aunt and tell her I love her and hold her hand…remember that if nothing else moves you to stay home. Dying alone is wrong and you can help prevent that from happening.