I am on night number 13 of 17 consecutive shifts in the intensive care unit (ICU) as the critical care attending. The hospital hallways and waiting rooms are eerily devoid of visitors and family members as we go into full lockdown. Designated Covid-19 care areas, such as the emergency department, the ICU, and the medical floors dedicated to milder forms of the disease, are bordering on chaotic. Many of the hospital staff are scared, there are pockets of paranoia, while others just seem to get on with their day. I find myself embodying all three personalities on the same night. Will I get sick? The bugs are everywhere, I’ll never get them off my hands! Get a grip Avi, your patients need you. Every patient is now viewed through the lens of Covid-19, which ensures healthcare workers maintain vigilance and patients are appropriately managed. However, we may risk impairing our ability to consider other important diagnoses as we train our thoughts on a single opponent. People will not stop suffering from heart attacks, strokes, and bacterial infections during a viral pandemic but it cannot be denied that definitive treatment for other diseases is delayed while awaiting Covid-19 test results.
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