I Don’t Miss Covid
It’s been a long time since I saw a Covid patient in the ER, and I couldn’t be happier
I’m an emergency room doctor in New York City, and I haven’t seen a Covid-19 patient in weeks. It feels great having my old job back.
In March 2020, Covid flooded our ERs. At first, it was just a dribble — one or two Covid patients per day. But within a week, the virus had taken over every body in every bed. Every shift in the emergency room brought an endless stream of patients, one after another, all struggling to breathe and in desperate need of oxygen.
The swiftness of Covid’s arrival in our emergency rooms took us by surprise even though we knew it was coming. On the front lines, we watched the virus take our patients, uncertain at first how to best treat this new disease. And once it found its way into our hospitals, Covid infected our friends and colleagues, taking many of them from us forever.
Covid permanently scarred a generation of health care workers. That’s why I’m so ecstatic to see it go.
Our job in the emergency room feels just like it used to for the first time since the virus surged into our hospitals.
I haven’t seen a Covid patient in my last five shifts in the emergency room. Not one person struggling to breathe because of this virus. Not one person coughing incessantly or needing immediate stabilization, high-flow oxygen, and intensive care.
This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is exactly how I like it.
To be honest, our job wasn’t easy before the pandemic. Working in the ER has always been stressful. We see sick patients every shift. And sadly, we sometimes see our patients die. But the onslaught of Covid brought a different kind of heart-wrenching chaos.
My last shift in the ER was extremely busy. I started the day by pulling a large winged insect out of someone’s ear (to the patient’s immense relief). I ended the day treating a young man who had been thrown from his…