Dr. Moses’ Letter to Patients (COVID-19)
It was a night I’ll never forget.
Three men walked into the ER. They were all in their late 40s or 50s and just a few days earlier, they had been fit and healthy.
One by one they crashed, unable to breathe. Their X-rays all showed the same picture: They had Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and their lungs were quickly failing.
In normal times, we’d see cases like this in the ER perhaps once a month. Yet here were three cases back-to-back. And since that night last week, we’ve seen so many more.
In my entire career, I’ve never seen anything like this Coronavirus crisis.
I know that you’re not used to receiving this kind of email from me. But many of my patients at Parfaire Medical Aesthetics know that before I opened the clinic in 2015, I was a full-time emergency physician.
And while it’s become my passion to work with my aesthetic patients long-term and help them look and feel their very best – both things you don’t get to do in the ER! – I’ve always kept one foot in the Emergency Room…
…Which is why I’m doing regular ER shifts right now, in a large LA hospital.
I’m writing to you today because there is a lot of misinformation swirling around COVID-19, and it’s difficult to know what and who to believe. Since I have a first-hand view of what’s really happening, I wanted to share some of my experiences and thoughts with you.
The Coronavirus crisis has crept up on us quickly, but not entirely unexpectedly.
I started following the situation in January, because I had access to reports in the Chinese media about what was taking place in Wuhan. It was immediately clear that this was a very severe illness, which was very contagious, and which the Chinese doctors were working day and night to contain.
Shortly afterwards, we began to see patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms in our own ER. But it was still quite rare, and there was very little awareness that this was a serious threat over here.
Over the past few weeks, the number of cases has accelerated dramatically. But we’re also seeing a different patient profile.
Whereas in February, most of the patients were relatively elderly, nowadays it’s affecting all age groups, including some cases of teenagers and infants.
While it’s true that the people most likely to die have underlying health conditions, we’re seeing people who are in all other ways fit and healthy losing their battles as well.
So make no mistake. This is not “just like” the common flu!
While it is a form of flu, COVID-19 has mutated so that it attacks people’s immune systems, and it spreads many times faster.
By the time patients reach me, they present with a very high fever. Some have a horrible, hacking cough. And routinely, they find it difficult to breathe. Some describe it as feeling like they’re drowning.
There is no easy or obvious cure. We intubate patients and put them on ventilators. But even if patients do recover, they are going to be on those ventilators for a long time, potentially leaving them with lifelong respiratory complications.
Every day, the doctors I work with face heart-breaking situations. There is a shortage of ventilators, making it difficult to treat everyone. Patients can’t have visitors, so we’ve seen too many people dying alone.
And there is also a shortage of masks, gloves and shields for the doctors, nurses and technicians. Many of us are having to wash and re-use our masks, which is inadequate under the circumstances.
I consider the medical professionals I’m working with right now true heroes – they are literally risking their lives to treat patients, and they are doing so with determination and a positive spirit.
But we have all had moments when the emotions have got to us. It feels like we’re in a war zone, fighting an invisible enemy. And this is still just the beginning.
So what do you need to do, to protect yourself?
First, take this seriously. Many people still do not understand how severe this is. But I cannot emphasize enough that Coronavirus is a serious threat to life, even if you are young and healthy.
Follow the public health regulations, and shelter in place.
Many people – the vast majority of patients – are not aware that they have COVID-19 because they do not show symptoms, but they are still highly infectious. If you go out and about, you risk spreading the disease without even knowing it.
And you risk catching it, too, from people who think they are healthy.
If you do have to go out in an emergency, protect your airway by wearing a mask (a regular medical mask is enough). We are still unclear about just how this virus transmits, so it makes sense to put a barrier around your mouth and nose.
Wash your hands often, because it appears that the virus lingers on some surfaces.
And go into full isolation if you feel any COVID-19 symptoms whatsoever. This means separating from your family, using a separate room and bathroom.
Friends, I don’t want to spread unnecessary panic. Most people recover from this illness. Many people have it and never even realize!
But over the past few weeks, I’ve also seen too many severe, tragic cases to take this lightly.
So take care of yourself. Take care of your loved ones.
And as soon as it’s safe again, I look forward to welcoming you back to Parfaire, to help you get beautiful, glowing skin and show you a little TLC following this enormous challenge.
Here’s to better times….
P.S. I know that many of our patients have questions around how to take care of their skin while in quarantine… I’ll put together some suggestions and tips and send them to you – watch out for our emails and social media updates on both Instagram and Facebook!
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