A plea from an emergency physician on the front lines

Our lives are quickly changing. Schools are closing. Sports are being canceled. People are working from home. Disneyland is closing. Toilet paper is in short supply.

We are about to hit a real struggle with our health care system. We are about to hit a real struggle with our economy.

Let this be a time where we come together and support each other.

Please use health care responsibly.

If you have a fever or cough, please stay home.

There is no cure for this virus, so coming to the hospital with mild symptoms will not help.

You will expose others and clog up our system, which is already at maximum capacity.

Please do not steal our masks and gloves. Our supply is not endless, is running low, and we need them more than anyone.

Please. Wash. Your. Hands. And stop touching your face.

Please come see me if you are short of breath, lethargic, losing consciousness, altered, or any other severe symptoms.

We will do everything we can to save your life. And we’re pretty good at what we do.

Please be nice to us in the ED. Remember, we sacrifice our lives for you. We risk ourselves and exposing our families to take care of you.

When everyone else is not working, we still are, day and night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are critically ill, you will be seen right away.

If you are not, you will have to wait. That wait may be many many hours. Please set your expectations accordingly.

Please do not get mad at us when you wait. If you were actively dying, you would want to be seen first, too.

Triage exists for a reason.

Please do not yell at us when we are running around exhausted, without food, drinks, using the restroom, or sitting ourselves.

You have no idea all the work we do behind the scenes.

Remember, we are human too.

A smile and a thank you go a long way.

As I remind my kids every single morning, above all, please be kind.

Vanessa Beckett is an emergency physician.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

Trusted clinician commentary on COVID-19 coronavirus from the KevinMD community:

  1. A COVID-19 coronavirus update from concerned physicians
  2. A plea from an emergency physician on the front lines
  3. The idiot’s guide to coronavirus from an emergency physician
  4. An ER physician’s advice to the general public: How to flatten the curve
  5. COVID-19: Why I’m very concerned
  6. A previously healthy clinician, now critically ill with COVID-19
  7. I’m an infectious disease doctor and I’m in quarantine
  8. An infectious disease doctor answers your COVID-19 and coronavirus questions
  9. A physician’s chilling COVID-19 diagnostic journey

View 1 Comments >

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories