Abandoned by U.S. leaders, the only protection I can count on in my ER is trust

I feel abandoned by U.S. leaders who appear to be bungling through a national catastrophe with unearned bravado. When stockpiles of personal protection equipment resemble the toilet paper aisle in grocery stores, I anticipate a declarative announcement from them and the CDC that they have good evidence, excellent evidence, the best evidence ever, that taking a marker and drawing an N95 mask on your face is just as effective as a surgical mask. But you must use a permanent marker, preferably a Sharpie.

In a time of crisis, transparency and trust are essential. But trust has become a resource as scarce as personal protective equipment, and it can’t be manufactured, even as an afterthought. Which explains why I feel comforted when I’m working in the emergency department. Being exposed to Covid-19 also means being surrounded by people I trust inherently.

There is a moral mission to emergency medicine. The sliding glass doors open to anyone and everyone. Our practice is a dance, sometimes a race, and on occasion an arm-wrestle with the unexpected.