Today’s episode: Learning as we go.
The thing that makes COVID-19 so tricky is its newness. It’s a disease that literally did not exist in humans until a few months ago. There was no handbook for treating it, no established way to screen for it and, as has become painfully clear, no detailed protocols for how doctors should handle the waves of sick patients.
That has meant that health workers at virtually every point on the spectrum — from paramedics to primary-care doctors to ICU specialists — have had to learn on the fly.
This all, of course, started in Western Washington, where the first confirmed U.S. case of COVID-19 was found. In this episode, KNKX’s Will James talks with medical providers who saw the alarming first signs of a problem, and doctors at the successive stages of care who had to muddle through life-or-death decisions with little information to go on.
“Sometimes when you slow down, the reality of the situation gets you that this is the biggest public health crisis of our time,” said Dr. Nick Mark, a pulmonary critical care physician in Seattle.
“It's easier to process when you're thinking about one patient, one person at a time or one day at a time. But I mean, you kind of zoom back and you think about it like, ‘Oh my God, this is a national crisis. This is going to affect, you know, millions of people.’ That reality is pretty overwhelming.”
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