Doctors, Healthcare Workers: Hospitalized With COVID-19


Health Editor’s Note: It is no surprise that we are now seeing COVID-19 infections in doctors and healthcare workers.  These are the people who are near many infective people during their shifts while they perform their jobs, taking care of sick people.  They cannot work from home.  The nature of their job means they cannot adhere to social/physical distancing. If there is a “front line” for COVID-19, the nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, hospital maintenance personnel, and all who care for the ill are on the front line and deserve our heart felt thanks for continuing to do their jobs despite the hazards they endure…..Carol

Clinicians’ COVID-19 Front-Line Fears; Healthcare Worker Hospitalizations Begin

by Kristina Fiore, Director of Enterprise & Investigative Reporting, MedPage Today

Welcome to the latest edition of Investigative Roundup, highlighting some of the best investigative reporting on healthcare each week.

Clinicians’ COVID-19 Front-Line Fears

The anxiety felt by healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything most have experienced in their careers, the New York Times reports.

“Now that we see front-line providers that are on ventilators, it is really driving it home,” Stephen Anderson, MD, who has been an emergency physician in suburban Seattle for 35 years, told the Times.

In emergency rooms across the country, doctors and nurses are suddenly wary of anyone walking in the door with a cough. It’s particularly stressful for these providers who have to deal with emergencies but may not know the infective status of the patient. ICU workers, on the other hand, know they’re exposed to the virus frequently.

All of that anxiety is compounded by the threat of shortages of personal protective equipment. Anderson said his hospital was down to a 2-day supply of surgical masks, which translated to one mask per shift. He has to remove it and clean it each time he takes it off and on.

“That may sound just like a nuisance, but when you’re potentially touching something that has the virus that could kill you on it, and you’re doing it 25 times a shift, it’s kind of nerve-racking,” he told the Times.

Docs, Other Workers Hospitalized with COVID-19

Their anxiety is justified as reports of healthcare workers being treated for coronavirus infection start to roll in.

The New York Times reports that two emergency physicians are in critical condition with coronavirus. One from EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland, Washington — where many of the Seattle-area COVID-19 cases are being treated — is in his 40s and is in critical but stable condition. The other, James Pruden, MD, of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson New Jersey, is in isolation in intensive care. He’s in his 70s and from Teaneck, the town at the epicenter of New Jersey’s outbreak. Pruden led the hospital’s emergency preparedness team, and was admitted several days ago with upper respiratory problems.

Also in Teaneck, three of 11 patients at Holy Name Medical Center are hospital employees.

A 32-year-old emergency physician from the University of California San Francisco is self-quarantined at home with mild symptoms after testing positive for coronavirus. He went to a conference for ED physicians at a New York City hotel on the weekend of March 7 and 8, and felt unwell when he returned home a few days later.

Five staff members at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City have tested positive for the virus, along with three patients. Also, nine healthcare workers at Emory’s health system in Atlanta have also tested positive, according to CNN.

Seattle Lab Plays Role in Boosting Tests

A lab at the University of Washington School of Medicine played a key role in opening the door to wider coronavirus testing in the U.S., even though national efforts are still lagging, Kaiser Health News reports.

Keith Jerome, MD, PhD, and Alex Greninger, MD, PhD, of the virology lab in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, started working on a coronavirus test as soon as Chinese scientists published the genetic sequence of the virus in January.

“We knew from China, we knew from South Korea, that when this virus comes into your community, you could be running hundreds of tests a day,” Jerome told KHN. “No one lab has the capacity to do what was needed in Wuhan.”

At first, the CDC was the only facility in the country that was authorized to test for the virus, but it became backlogged as demand grew — and because there were flaws in the tests it sent to state and local labs.

While Greninger pressed FDA to ease requirements that prevented labs from testing sick patients, the team found a loophole that enabled them to start testing samples. On Feb. 28, their first test came back positive, confirming community spread. The next day, FDA granted a waiver to let private and academic labs start testing for coronavirus.

Soon thereafter, the lab was churning out tests, anticipating it will soon be able to do somewhere from 2,000 to 2,500 tests a day, eventually going up to 5,000 tests daily.

On a recent day, about 9% of tests came back positive: “It shows the virus is out there,” Jerome told KHN. “And there’s more than most people realize.”

Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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  1. I suspect that this virus can be largely prevented by people making certain their immune systems are in the best shape. The problem I see with modern medicine in America (est 20% of the economy) is that the medical profession does not pay enough attention to preventive health practices – the profession is all about fixing something once it is broken. Really? How quaint.

    I perceive that this medical industry problem came about because of poor medical school training and because the nutritional prevention approach was largely shut down by Rockefeller and Carnegie who created the ‘pill for an ill’ mentality in doctors. Sadly, now, 100 years later, medical schools are churning out doctors who know nothing about the benefits of nutrition or herbs or any holistic practices. Bad juju for America.

    Maybe we need more NDs and not so many MDs, eh? Just a thought.

  2. I would like someone to explain to me, how is it possible to have today 4000 deaths in Italy within the framework of an epidemic declared for 3 weeks, in a country of 60 million inhabitants, and fewer victims in a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants declared for 3 months !!! ????
    I live in China. The ovens turned 24/7, ditto in Italy except that the region of Hubei has 100 times more crematory ovens than in Italy …. All this to underline a big doubt on the publication of the official figures, which are in their largely largely underestimated, simply in order to put into perspective and save the economy, which is obviously the will of each government … Mathematically this does not hold water!

  3. Orthodox medicine, as it is often called, has a long and sordid history of obstruction to any new ideas by others, especially outsiders, when it comes to saving lives and studying new techniques. Quote from Wikipedia: “Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis[A] (German: [ɪˈɡnaːts ˈzɛml̩vaɪs]; Hungarian: Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp; 1 July 1818 – 13 August 1865) was a Hungarian physician and scientist, now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the “saviour of mothers”,[2] Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever (also known as “childbed fever”) could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal. Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing hands with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors’ wards had three times the mortality of midwives’ wards.[3] He published a book of his findings in Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.

    Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community.” The late Fred Klenner, M.D. has received the same fate for over 70 years against use of high dose Vitamin C by bigots in orthodox medicine. This anti scientific attitude is disgraceful.

    • This morning I visited the local Kroger store and had to wait an hour for them to open. There was not a single bottle of Vitamin C of any size or any brand left in the store!
      So evidently the patients are way out in front of the bigots in orthodox medicine who hate Vitamin C and its magnificent contributions to simple, safe and cheap treatments of many horrible diseases as proved by the late Fred Klenner, M.D., the greatest Chemist of the 20th Century Linus Pauling, Ph.D., and many others today.

  4. The Chinese in their recent meeting with other global medical jurisdictions recommends older medical staff stay away from front line medical assistance and yo allow younger staff to do the front line work. Maybe the rest of the world including the US should heed this good advice.