Dr. Mariana Helou, Clinical Assistant Professor/Clerkship Director of ER & Acting Division Head of Emergency Medicine
Now is when our community needs us the most.
When I first started working in emergency departments 10 years ago, I remember that what we needed to do was to prioritize our time and put all our strength into the work at hand. This used to bring me joy and satisfaction. At the end of the day, I would go home full of positive energy.
But 2020 changed everything, starting with the economic crisis, followed by the August 4 Beirut explosion and now with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the country hard.
With the shortage of hospital beds and the lack of preparedness in the country, the situation is growing tougher on all healthcare workers. Patients wait hours and days in the ER hoping for a bed to clear, while others wait outside the hospital for hours to get admitted, and many others die at home because they are not able to find a spot anywhere.
This is the sad reality that we are living. We are operating at our fullest to be able to cope with all the sadness and stress. I doubt that anyone is able to maintain work/life boundaries anymore. I go back home with a feeling of emptiness and all I can think of is what will happen the next day in the ER. My phone goes off day and night, as patients seek medical care, oxygen for at-home treatment, and even emotional support and advice.
As a healthcare worker, I feel that now is the time to dedicate ourselves to serving our community.