by Dr. Jeffrey Munson
A friend of mine in our Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) today asked me for some good news about COVID-19. Anything. His question made me appreciate how much we all want and need something good to center on, and how little there is to share.
I am tired. I am frustrated. I am sad. And in the midst of this, it sometimes feels like all I ever see is people talking about what other people should do to make things better. I don’t have good news, but I can try to change the last part. Rather than saying what I think everyone else should do, I want to say out loud what I am willing to do.
“I will come to work every day and take care of anyone who is sick in my unit. I don’t care if they are vaccinated, unvaccinated, rich, poor, Black, white, brown, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat or Independent.” – Dr. Jeffrey C. Munson, MD, MSCE, Medical Director of the MICU
I will wear my mask. Sometimes to protect me, always to protect you. I will get my third shot. And my fourth, and my fifth if it comes to that. Because in my world of million-dollar technology, this shot is still the most effective way to keep people alive.
I will come to work every day and take care of anyone who is sick in my unit. I don’t care if they are vaccinated, unvaccinated, rich, poor, Black, white, brown, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat or Independent. I will put on whatever mask, face shield, gown and gloves I need to come to their bedside and help. I will learn as much as I can, so that when you are sick, I can promise we are doing everything that can be done to save your life.
I will support my peers in the MICU in any way I can. Because, like me, they are tired, they are frustrated, and they are sad. And because they are not only the front line; they are the last line separating the sick from the dead.
I will treat everyone in my care with compassion, because no one deserves what COVID does. And for those who cannot survive, I will do everything I can to ensure that they do not suffer, and I will grieve their loss.
This is my part to play, and I accept it. I accept it because it is what I can do in a time when the need for doing is so great. And I accept it because I stood in front of my family, my peers, and my community and promised that I would care for the sick.
The author, Dr. Jeffrey C. Munson, MD, MSCE, is Medical Director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital Intensive Care Unit. Op-ed republished from the Jan. 18 hospital website.