People ask me what it’s like working on the hospital wards right now. In one word – exhausting. You have to scramble for the time and attention required to actually see and treat patients.
I had high hopes for our vaccine access system given the stakes. But I spent an hour of my day trying to get a non-English speaking, elderly, high-risk woman a vaccine or a vaccine appointment before she was discharged. Should be easy, right? Wrong. Vaccines for inpatients are at the pilot stage and she was being discharged before they were available. I called her seniors home but she had missed getting her dose there while she was admitted. I then went through, website by website, each of the locations that were a 5-, 10-, 20- and 30-minute drive from her home and no appointments were available. Is this Ticketmaster-like system where you have to constantly refresh 15 browsers for an appointment really the best we can do? In the end, I could not get her booked but she was still grateful for the time I took trying to get this done.
But I am angry. I am distressed at how we are failing to protect our most vulnerable when we have the means to easily and safely do so.
We are opening an ICU in the GTA for patients under 40 with COVID. But there is still no clear path to vaccinate them.
There are lockdowns, emergency brakes and stay-at-home orders – but without protections (financial or vaccine) for essential workers and teachers. How does this make sense?
My day job during this rotation ends at 6 p.m. After quick catchup time with the family, I move to my evening/night job – advocating for the public health policies needed to get us out of this mess. I can’t sit idly by; I can see what’s coming; we need to act now to stop it from happening.