Who will calm down the patients when the doctors themselves are panicking?

Dear doctors, I can try to empathise with your concern..

Let’s consider a healthy 35 year old..

10-30 out of 1000 in this age group will land up in ICU, about 1 will die.. (ballpark figures based on current situation)..

This is unprecedented for an illness that starts as an innocuous viral URTI..

There’s no way, in the initial 5 days, for me as a doctor to know whether the patient sitting in front of me will be one of those 10-30 ICU admissions..

Does that justify over treating everyone I see?

Not in my book. I feel it’s unjustified, and it’s more appropriate to follow closely, and escalate treatment when there are signs of deterioration.

We might lose a rare patient with this approach, who slips out of follow up.. but at least I’m not causing damage due to overuse of steroids, antibiotics and antivirals, including to the patient’s wallet..

But I can try to empathise with the panic in the minds of doctors who are in ICUs, losing patients left and right, including healthy youngsters! And wondering if there was something that could have been done early enough to save this patient..

ICU doctors, we Family Physicians hear you, and assure you that we’re taking good care of patients with mild disease, and trying everything that is proven to work, at appropriate stages in the illness, following them closely, and ensuring that an ever smaller fraction of patients need your help!

Let’s trust each other as doctors that all of us are trying to do the right thing, and trust our own clinical instinct, drawing from years and decades of experience treating respiratory illnesses.. 🙏🏾

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