26 Mar Leslie Marshall: Coronavirus through eyes of a doctor’s wife – remember true heroes of this fight
My husband, Dr. Asghar Husain, is an orthopedic surgeon. That means he fixes broken bones. He specializes in shoulder, elbow and knee injuries. He not only takes care of professional athletes but also children who fall off their bunk bed, older people who fall down and the usual weekend warriors.
For my husband and most orthopedic surgeons, the majority (90 percent in my husband’s case) of the surgeries he performs are elective. With the urgency of this coronavirus pandemic, hospitals have recently asked surgeons to stop doing all elective surgeries.
There are two reasons for that: 1) there aren’t enough supplies like masks and gloves to go around and 2) there are no beds if a patient operated on needs one; all are taken (and are running out fast) for patients infected with the coronavirus.
My husband had to phone the majority of his patients last week and tell them he could not operate on them for injuries such as torn rotator cuffs, meniscus and ACLs. Most of the patients were understanding, but some, who are in pain, are worried about waiting 30 days for surgery.
My husband is currently considered a second line physician in this battle against coronavirus. The first or front line are the doctors and nurses who come into contact with coronavirus patients daily. But to show you how fast this virus is spreading, my husband was asked just this week, when (not if, according to the hospital) some of the front line either become infected or need or be quarantined, would he be willing to come up to the front line.
My husband said yes, of course. He not only took an oath, but he and other doctors in the medical community believe this is a societal issue and they have a responsibility to help stop the spread of this virus and to care for those who are suffering and who might eventually die from it.
When my husband told me this, of course, I was concerned. Not only for him but for my children. He thinks it could happen in the next two or three weeks. We discussed him living at the hospital or one of the hotels near the hospital that has been provided for healthcare workers so they can remain away from their families while working on the front line.
I asked my husband how he feels about this virus and the situation we are in, and he said one of the most frustrating things for medical personnel is not only how fast this virus spreads, but also how long it lives on surfaces outside the body and, once inside the body, how it attacks the cells. He also shared with me recently an email from a doctor in Italy; the man sounded so despondent, it was heartbreaking.
Coronavirus is not just a medical issue for the medical community, it’s also a financial one. People aren’t paying their co-pays or deductibles (hospitals and doctors offices aren’t required to collect them during this time if patients can’t pay). Ninety percent of surgeries aren’t being performed. Many hospitals, doctors, nurses, EMT’s, techs and other medical personnel are working with reduced or even no pay. Many are volunteering their time, like the health care professionals who have come out of retirement to assist with the burden this virus has currently placed on our healthcare system and its workers.
That means these people are working tirelessly, risking their lives for all of us daily, and some of them aren’t getting paid. They fear to lose their savings, their retirement or even their homes in the process. When I hear about a bailout for the airline industry, I get it. But where is the bailout for the health care industry? For health care workers!?
Looking at China and South Korea, we know that someday we will all be on the other side of this virus. When that happens, I hope all of you remember the true heroes in this fight against COVID-19. It’s not politicians, but scientists, nurses, volunteers, techs, paramedics, EMTs, physician’s assistants and doctors, like my husband, who made that all possible. I hope you never forget that, America. This doctor’s wife never will.
Leslie Marshall joined Fox News Channel as a contributor in 2009; providing analysis on both political and social issues from a liberal point of view. A nationally syndicated talk host, whose program, “The Leslie Marshall Show” can be heard on radio, stream, “Tune In,” “The Progressive Voices Radio Network,” and “The Armed Forces Radio Network.”