In late March, as Illinois was preparing for a projected April surge in COVID-19 cases, Khalilah Gates, MD, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, recorded her feelings of anxiety about the unknown and her gratitude for the preparation and sense of togetherness at NMH. Her video diary, created in response to a media request about healthcare providers’ experience on the front lines of the pandemic, became part of an NBC News report April 2.
“I realize that this is a crisis I’ve never seen before in my practice of medicine,” Dr. Gates says in the video. Amid the chaos of the unknown, “the most interesting feeling is one of comfort from watching my colleagues get together and come up with a plan as we face this crisis together. The message that we are sending to each other is that we are here for each other, we are here for our patients, and we are here together.”
Asked to update her feelings as the projected peak in Illinois grows closer, Dr. Gates shares the story of a patient who was safely extubated, and of her pleasure spending an afternoon with her own young daughter. “My message is, ‘Yes, we are feeling stressed and anxious, but we still have things to be grateful for and to look forward to,’” she says.
“Life will never be the same after COVID-19,” she continues. “We, as a medical community, as a country and as a world, have so much to learn from this experience, to become better because of it. COVID-19 forces us to focus on our common humanity, regardless of boundaries that divide us.”