Helen Ouyang is one of several brilliant ER docs I’ve been fortunate to work with over the years. She also happens to be a gifted writer and just published a piece in the New York Times titled “I’m an E.R. Doctor in New York. None of Us Will Ever Be the Same.”
The subtitle is “A Covid diary: This is what I saw as the pandemic engulfed our hospitals.” When I read it, I thought this is the article I’ve been waiting for. It’s a firsthand account of what the pandemic did to the hospitals of NYC, and the human devastation it wrought both to the population and the frontline healthcare workers who did their best in a hopeless situation.
It’s impossible to tell anyone what happened for many reasons. How, no, why would you ever try to describe a mass casualty event to anyone? We don’t even talk to each other about it, and we sure can’t talk to our loved ones – because they are already scared shitless.
Of course she’s right, none of us will ever be the same. It’s going to take some time to see how that change will manifest for each of us.
One thing’s for sure: There will be a reckoning.