With COVID-19 demanding most of our attention these days, personal protective equipment (PPE) like N-95 masks for healthcare workers is in short supply.
I’m blessed to work with several physician groups who have been diligent in providing PPE for the providers and staff, but not every practitioner is so fortunate.
Telemedicine has taken over to protect some of our “well” patients. For example, if a patient is high risk for contracting COVID-19, but they need routine medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic conditions, we don’t want to expose them to those who are ill. This is especially true since we have been seeing patients experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus and have witnessed a number of positive tests.
This past week I mentioned to one of my elderly, immune suppressed female patients via telemedicine that I had an N-95 mask, protective gowns, gloves and face shield because those with whom I work have been diligent in providing them. I don’t know how, with the shortages and all, but they have. She was very appreciative of the Telemedicine visit to protect her health. Several hours later, I received a call from this patient. She wanted me to step out to the parking lot. I was more than a little curious, so I went out the back door.
This sweet lady stood by my car with a plastic bag in her hand that she placed on my the hood of my car.
“This is for you. My husband is a retired police officer. When I told him that you were seeing patients, we drove to the station and picked up a couple of things. He said that if you’re out here seeing patients, he wanted to make sure you were okay.”
As she placed the bag on the hood of my car. I suggested she keep whatever was in the bag for her and her husband. Her response was amazing. “I’m going to be sitting at home. You’re out here taking care of sick folks. I’ll let you know if we need anything.” She climbed into her car and she and her husband drove off. I walked to my car and picked up a bag of N-95 industrial grade masks.