Special to GraniteBayToday.org
Often, people in the medical field put themselves at risk to save the lives of others. In times of a pandemic, like COVID-19, the health of these workers and their families are even more compromised.
During this global state of crisis, people living with those who work in medicine are at high risk.
Many students at Granite Bay High School have parents and family members who work in hospitals that house patients who have or may have the virus, directly putting their parents and their own health in jeopardy.
“My mom is a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente, she works at a hospital where patients are already diagnosed with COVID-19, and they have some deaths so far.” Shereen Golkar at Granite Bay High school said, “I am slightly concerned about their health and safety, because they are seeing it every day and there is a high risk of them getting it. I am not too worried about contracting it from them because I have a feeling I would have a higher chance of surviving it, but considering my parents are in their 50’s, I worry for them.”
Surprisingly, anyone can aid these families by keeping themselves under self quarantine. “You can protect these people (the elderly and people with chronic conditions) and yourself by taking preventative measures such as social distancing, self quarantining when needed and taking other hygienic measures.” Aidan Maney, Senior and son of a Pediatrician at UC Davis clinic said, “You may have heard it being called flattening the curve which is the idea that fewer cases would develop if we take these precautions than if we hadn’t, this reduces the strain on hospitals that have limited resources, preventing unnecessary deaths or injuries.”
Due to these overcrowded hospitals, many workers are facing the cruel realities of what it’s like without the proper amount of medical protection.
“My dad expressed that the lack of supplies is crazy,” Senior Meryl Isaccson, daughter of a Laparoscopic Surgeon at Kaiser Medical Center in Vallejo said. “One of our family friends who also is a doctor sent a message to everyone to encourage them to donate supplies, because doctors are having to scavenge for supplies like using a plastic bag and air filter as a mask. You’d think hospitals would be prepared but they weren’t for this big of an issue.”
Some hospitals are so short on personal protective equipment they are forced to reuse or make their own supplies.
“The other day when my mom went to work and they had run out of masks so her and her coworkers had to keep the same masks on all day from patient to patient.” Karlie Koch, a sophomore and daughter of a Respiratory therapist at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, said. “They’re constantly running low on protection equipment due to the distribution of the equipment to the general public.”
The lack of PPE, or personal protective equipment has helped bring the community together as many departments in different hospitals have started ‘Go Fund Me’s’ in order to raise money to buy more PPE. These Go Fund Me’s in a Facebook post by Imran Aurangzeb an ICU doctor at Sutter Medical Center of Sacramento pleaded for people in the community to donate for the greater good.
Some people have also begun to donate different supplies directly, like masks, gloves and even face shields.
“My dad temporarily closed his practice,” freshman Justin Ha said about his father’s dermatology business, “so he actually is donating some of his supplies like masks and gloves to help those who might need more.”
Lack of protection leads to higher risk situations for staff members at medical offices, dually putting their families at risk as well.
“I’m worried that my mom will bring home the virus to us because she is the director of nursing at an advanced health care facility in Sacramento where they have had some scares thinking residents have or may have had the coronavirus,” Senior Ean Mayhew said, “but they are taking all the necessary precautions to keep the facility clean and make sure they don’t get the virus and that anyone that has it or been in contact doesn’t come to work.”
Medical facilities are making sure that their staff is safe during work, however once their shift is over and they are sent home, individuals have to take their own safety precautions in order to keep their families out of harm’s way.
“My mom has been coming home from work keeping her shoes outside then once inside instantly taking off her scrubs putting them in the wash then showering.” Koch said, “We don’t have separate showers but she makes sure she’s careful and she washes herself off really well. Yet starting this week my mom is going to change out of her scrubs at the hospital and put them in a bag to carry so then once she gets home she can throw them in the wash then wash herself.”
This pandemic can be a scary time for everyone, but if everyone works together it can die down sooner rather than later, “The choice in our hands,” Maney said, “if we choose the more convenient path it will bring untold and unnecessary suffering.”