Dr. Harrison Carmichael

PGY-5, Emergency Medicine (EMS and Disaster Medicine Fellow)

1) What has helped you work through the COVID-19 pandemic?

For me COVID-19 has helped make me proud of what I do. Emergency Medicine is commonly an underrecognized specialty and I feel as though COVID-19 has allowed for many gain an appreciation for what we do, while allowing for use to display our areas of expertise.

Also, the support from our department, residency program, hospital, government and community have made coming to work every day much easier. I am happy to come to work on every shift with the opportunity to care for a community that is sacrificing so much in their daily lives for each other. Seeing the community adapt their lives to help each gives us the sense that we’re all in this together.

Also, the free meals people are offering the ED is a major boost to morale for us all!

2) What message would you give to your fellow physician colleagues on National Doctor’s Day?

Simple, stay strong, focused and safe. Make sure to take care of yourself and let’s take what we learn during this pandemic forward to help shape a better healthcare system for all Canadians.

3) What message of encouragement would you give to the public during this time?

THANK YOU! No matter how much we can prepare, we simply could not handle COVID-19 without what the public is doing. Our hospitals are currently able to cope because of how much we have slowed the initial outbreak. This can and will change if we don’t keep up our current efforts, so we need to continue following recommendations from our outstanding public health team. To all of you in the community, thank you for your sacrifice and please know that if you are unwell, COVID-19 related or otherwise, we are here for you in the Emergency Department and will keep you safe.

4) Describe what work/life has been like for you over the last few weeks.

At home I’m not much different than everyone else. Our dog is sick of going for walks at this point and we meet up with friends on video chat as often as we can. My wife also works in a hospital, so we only plan to self-isolate from each other if we become ill. I’m thankful that I can still work and have the opportunity to break up some of the monotony of quarantine.

From a residency perspective COVID-19 has been a difficult time. The pandemic has resulted in major changes to our learning opportunities, structure and as a final year resident our certification exams have been postponed indefinitely. Our program has done a great job in limiting the impact of these changes as much as possible which has made this transition easier.

At work COVID-19 has caused an air of uncertainty in the hospital. This is a new contagious illness with the capability to overwhelm our hospital systems and the feeling we are experiencing is described by some as “standing on a beach before a tsunami wave arrives”. You can imagine that causes some level of anxiety and has resulted in sweeping changes in how the hospital system functions. We are preparing though, from COVID-19 simulated cases, to COVID-19 Grand Rounds, we continue to immerse ourselves in the best available evidence to ensure we offer the world class care our patients expect.

Another thing that we have noticed is a drastic decrease in patients presenting to the ED for reasons other than COVID-19. We know that heart attacks and strokes still occur despite the pandemic but, many people are scared to come to the ED. This has resulted in major complications for some, that would not occur if patients had presented to the ED earlier in their illness. Please, if you are unwell, know that we take every precaution to make the ED a safe place for you to be treated and I want to encourage everyone to see us if you have an emergency, do not stay at home.

Published by toheducation

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