Having worked on the front lines in New York City, I have seen this virus up close and personal and it is lethal. With numerous promising vaccines looming in the near future it is our duty to continue to stay vigilant and resist the fatigue associated with this grueling pandemic. The public health measures of mask-wearing, good hand hygiene, and maintaining social distancing when appropriate are a proven recipe for combating this virus.
When I began my work in the OCME, I was often asked if I "see bodies" and once the COVID-19 pandemic began my answer changed from "I only do DNA testing and sometimes fingernails" to "Yes, I've seen plenty of bodies".
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, so much of my outpatient care has gone from in-person appointments to holding almost all of my visits via teletherapy. However, I also still go inpatient into the hospital – so those inpatient responsibilities have mostly changed in trying to be more careful on any forms of transmission.
We continue to provide emergency care to our Soldiers, but an initial shortage of personal protective equipment has made work incredibly risky. Dentists may not seem like they are on the front lines of COVID-19, but we are among those most likely to come into close contact with the novel coronavirus.
My role and day to day responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically changed. I take emergency room call, and also perform a wide variety of elective, scheduled surgeries, including those for hernias, cancer, robotic, and laparoscopic procedures.
We have been facing the fears and challenges everyone else has - going to work has been a bit scarier, more people calling out sick in an effort to avoid exposure just in case, and our work hours constantly adjusting/accommodating to help keep everything running as smoothly as possible.