By Randi Ozaki ’03 Emergency physician, University Hospital of Brooklyn
This experience has been like nothing I have ever been through before. For months, we cautiously watched the situation in Asia and Europe and braced for impact, but nothing could prepare me for the actual experience. The crazy thing about this disease is that it can affect the old and the young, whether healthy or not. As emergency doctors, we are used to seeing patients on their sickest days, but this experience was unprecedented. This disease will unfortunately affect us all in one way or another. I know of many people that have suffered from COVID-19, and I know of many that have lost friends or family members to this terrible disease.
I find hope and inspiration through the tireless efforts of our emergency medicine residents. Our hospital has the largest emergency medicine residency in the country, and I am proud to be a part of the faculty that gets to train these amazing doctors. They have been working so hard to try to provide the best care for these patients, even when there is still so much uncertainty about this disease.
I am also in disbelief over the generosity of the community. We have received many donations for PPE, including N95 masks, gowns and face masks, which were in short supply. Many local small businesses have also stepped up to offer food, coffee and support to our doctors and staff. Working in the emergency department (ED) while wearing all of the required PPE can be exhausting and the staff really appreciates all of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners (even ice cream!) that has been donated.
I’m fortunate to still be close with many of my fellow members from the class of 2003, and many have texted or emailed me just to make sure that I was okay. Knowing that I have friends in Hawai‘i and elsewhere who are caring for me brings me some inner peace during these turbulent times.
Sending much aloha from Brooklyn!
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