The world is struggling. Medicine as we know it is struggling, and we cannot fathom what the future holds. This is a pandemic of uncertainty. In the meantime, I think our patients need us more than ever. If the nurses, doctors, patient transport and X-ray technicians put their lives on the line to help me, the best way I can help them is to help my patients.
Yesterday, I smelled garlic. This morning, I finally walked all the way around the block. It took 25 minutes, but I can breathe.
The world will change, and so will we. We will collectively grieve. But our patients will still need rheumatologists and our medications. We will fumble and struggle and find ways to be there.
Of this, I am certain.
Belinda Birnbaum, MD, is a clinician with Bryn Mawr Medical Specialists Association & Bryn Mawr Hospital, Main Line Health, Pa. Dr. Birnbaum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and trained at New York University and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. She is thinking of her colleagues and friends there, especially the rheumatologists turned COVID-19 hospitalists. They are true heroes.
With special gratitude to my amazing group, Donald Miller, MD, Stephanie Flagg, MD, PhD, Pierre Minerva, MD, Kendra Zuckerman, MD, and Liliane Min, MD, as well as to master clinicians Lawrence Livornese, MD (chair of medicine, Main Line Health Department of Infectious Diseases) and John Hansen-Flaschen, MD (professor of medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, Department of Pulmonary Medicine).
The ACR has created a robust COVID-19 resource page for rheumatologists and rheumatology professionals.
Also review the ACR’s Guiding Principles for Scarce Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Hydroxychloroquine.