Milwaukee, This is Your Front Line: John Roddy, MD
I’m Dr. John Roddy. I’m a first-year critical care fellow with the Medical College of Wisconsin Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine working at Froedtert Hospital. I’ve approached the prospect of treating COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) with a certain amount of anxiety. The hours are long and grueling as a critical care fellow, and this is a particularly contagious and challenging illness. I worry about the health of my family, myself and my coworkers. Some of my well-respected coworkers have become ill, and I am deeply concerned for them.
In the past weeks, I have been grateful and humbled to have witnessed true heroism in the valiant and self-sacrificing efforts of the nurses in the COVID-19 ICU and those of my fellow physicians who have been willing to risk exposure in order to protect and heal others. We as a group have been both saddened by the loss that we have been daily witnessing despite our best efforts and gladdened by the successes that we have had. Recently, a patient that had been on life support was discharged home. There was cheering on the unit today as the news was passed around. It brought joy to my heart to be a part of such an accomplishment.
When we recently found out about the profound shortage of personal protective equipment, my wife, Lindsey, and I decided that we had an imperative to act and began efforts to rapid prototype respirators for frontline healthcare workers and first responders at the most exposed forefront of this pandemic. While I have had to return to work, my wife has continued these efforts, and we are hoping to have a solution ready soon to help with shortages. We have appreciated the community’s support in these efforts. To our community, thank you, please keep flattening the curve, and give your local healthcare workers a high five in solidarity...from an appropriate social distance, of course.