Infectious disease people are the ones who are sweating when things like this develop. Obviously, none of us have seen anything like this in our lifetimes. We knew it was serious back in November, before the virus came to the United States. Montgomery County is one of the first spots in Pennsylvania where it became an issue. We started seeing cases in very early March.
Our group covers a couple of hospitals. I’m chief of infection control and prevention at Chestnut Hill Hospital, so one of my jobs there was looking into the types of protective equipment we needed and trying to get more, and planning for the safe movement of people through the hospital. There was a ton of planning well before COVID patients started showing up.
In a normal spring, my group would see a lot of pneumonias, urinary tract infections, HIV patients. In flu season, we see a lot of viral illnesses. Now, I pretty much see all COVID patients all day long. I get excited when a patient “just” has a bloodstream infection. It’s refreshing and nostalgic.
Many of us have spent time away from our families, worried about bringing the virus home. One of my partners hasn’t seen his wife and small kids in over six weeks. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, not just with doctors, but with the nurses, techs, people who sit at the desk, people cleaning the rooms. They show up, they take care of people. They’re bringing compassion and humanity, just as they normally do. But it’s more challenging in a time like this, when people are afraid.
All the Philadelphia-area hospitals have little rituals to celebrate the victories. At Lankenau Medical Center, they play the Rocky theme song whenever a COVID patient gets discharged. It’s a mood lifter. We’ve been hearing it more and more recently, which is nice.
Dr. Bevin L. (Sell) Dolan ’99, infectious disease specialist and internist, Delaware Valley Infectious Disease Associates, Wynnewood, Pa.; infectious disease educational coordinator, residency program at Lankenau Medical Center; medical director of the infection control and prevention committee, Chestnut Hill Hospital