May 1st marks National Physicians’ Day in Canada and there’s never been a more important time to honour our doctors as they work to support patients during the COVID-19 crisis.
Many of BC’s physicians are at the forefront of this pandemic, taking time away from their families working around the clock, while risking their physical and mental health. Thank you to all the physicians caring for patients during this difficult time.
While we have heard about the challenges physicians face, we have also heard stories of resilience, strength and inspiration.
We asked you to send us stories of doctors who are making a difference in this pandemic to recognize the important work you’re doing. Read their stories below:
Turning fear into action and preventing crises is exactly what the specialty training of Surrey Hospital’s anesthesia team’s prepared them for. While they are used to applying those skills to patients, watching what was happening overseas at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic galvanized them to do the same for the entire OR and hospital system.
Working together and supporting each other brought success to the adaptation and implementation of safety measures in the face of a potential COVID surge. The department’s unified and unbreakable dedication paved the way forward as they partnered with administration to help the site prepare.
The ‘Surrey Hospital Intubation Team’ was born in a time of crisis as the ED and ICU saw an influx of infectious patients in respiratory distress. The Department of Anesthesia assembled a team to meet the challenge 24/7, with the goal of achieving the fastest, safest and cleanest airway management at each intubation for known or potential COVID-positive patients.
Victoria-based ER physician Dr Bri Bentzon Budlovsky started an Instagram account at the beginning of the pandemic to spread trustworthy information to the public about the virus. Since then, her following has quickly grown to nearly 3,000 people who engage daily with questions and support. Amid a lot of false information circulating on social media, her posts focus on facts and useful information for the public so they can separate fact from fiction when it comes to the virus. Check out her account for daily updates below.
Dr Anne Nguyen is a Victoria Primary Care and Addiction Medicine physician, who for the past two months has led the Victoria Inner City Covid Response Outreach Team to provide care for homeless and substance-using patients during this dual public health crisis. She has pulled together a team of physicians, outreach nurses, support workers and administrative support at very short notice. Outreach teams have now been embedded in all of Victoria's tent cities. Dr Nguyen's dedication and vision are truly awe-inspiring. And all this while being a busy mother of three young children.
Dr Eddie Rooke is a physician who works in addictions medicine for vulnerable populations in the PHS Columbia Community Clinic and Station Street Community Clinic.
On top of his usual clinical duties, he has been a part of a safe supply initiative to help people who have substance use disorders stay in self-isolation and not go into withdrawal or have cravings that would make them break social distancing.
This important task is not easy, but he’s been working by telemedicine with a team on the ground of outreach workers and nurses, and cooperative pharmacies who are all helping. Numerous people who live in Oppenheimer park have been prescribed a safe supply of their substance of choice, and in doing so helped to social distance and reduce the risk of both spreading the COVID-19 disease and overdosing from a toxic street supply. The team is working very hard and it is truly innovative how they are tackling this issue in creative and diligent ways.
Drs Helen Chen, Jenny Liu and Winnie Su are a group of full-service family physicians who have been providing primary care to over 7,000 patients in the Vancouver area since 2003.
“If nothing else, the pandemic has revealed how incredibly blessed we are by each other and by our patients who entrust their healthcare to us. We believe that continuity of care is essential in achieving the best health outcomes,” said Dr Su.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team quickly developed office protocols to provide seamless care but also to ensure safety for patients and staff. They quickly embraced virtual care, continue to provide after-hours on-call service, secured appropriate PPE to provide in-person office visits for essential medical visits, and sent out a mass email to patients informing them of these changes. They also dedicate a clinic cell phone for patients to text if they had any questions or concerns about COVID-19. Finally, they set up a system of carrying out COVID/ infectious/respiratory assessments in the parking lot.
“At a time such as this, we are inspired and encouraged by all the physicians in our community who continue to care for their patients with compassion, dedication and a good dose of creativity. We know we will get through this together.”
VGH anesthesiologist Dr Cyrus McEachern has found a creative way to honour his hard-working colleagues during this challenging time. His project explores how stress from the health care crisis is affecting doctors both at work and in their personal lives. Each image shows two sides of each doctor with one side depicting them at work and the other at home. View more images here.
The Pai family is no stranger to medicine — three members of the family are all physicians. During COVID-19, all three are working in different specialties treating patients. Dr Rajeev Pai works in geriatric medicine, Dr Rohit Pai is a gastroenterologist and Dr Jayaram Pai is an internist. Thank you to all three of you for making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.
To all physicians caring for patients during this difficult time, thank you.