I will likely become infected in the next few months. It’s just simple math that I have accepted. But I became a physician knowing the job incurred risk and that I have a duty to patients and society. Based on what we know today, my risk of getting severely ill or dying from Covid-19 is low. I am fortunate to be relatively young and healthy, but that is not the case for other medical colleagues who are likely to become infected as well.
Protecting our workforce is critical. Healthcare workers who are infected or exposed without protective gear won’t be able to work while contagious. Yet we need them to care for new Covid-19 cases as well as patients with all of the other diseases and traumatic injuries that will continue to occur. Heart attacks and strokes are not taking a break while the virus is here.
How can we be proactive about protecting our healthcare workers? To start, we need to consider protecting our older colleagues and those with certain preexisting medical conditions. We may even need to decide that only young and healthy doctors and nurses should be triaging and caring for these patients. I’m in. But is this discriminatory or putting too much risk on the young? I’m not sure.