“As a physician anesthesiologist who has previously been on assignment for Doctors Without Borders in a resource-depleted region fraught with conflict, I’d like to say there’s little I haven’t seen. But now, after four weeks of staffing COVID intensive care units and emergency response teams throughout New York City, I struggle to distinguish between the exhaustion of a distant war-zone and the fatigue I see in state-of-the-art medical facilities. In some ways, my past experience treating war-wounded Syrian refugees mentally prepared me for my most recent journey where I dropped the comforts of life in California, booked a one-way ticket to the Big Apple, and secured emergency credentialing at multiple hospitals in the global epicenter of the virus outbreak. But in other ways, the campaign against COVID-19 is its own brand of horror, and I find myself worn down overseeing emergency intubations and debating the ethics of ventilator distribution, whether or not to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and how to help patients die with dignity when they are nearing end-of-life.”
Ajit Rai is an anesthesiologist and interventional pain physician and can be reached at his self-titled site, Ajit Rai MD.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD articles, “Opening America: Should we really have to choose between economic revival and human life?” and “Young physicians belong on the battlefront.”
Hosted by Kevin Pho, MD, The Podcast by KevinMD shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from.