Emergency Care in the
Time of COVID

COVID’s permanent impact on our healthcare system is undeniable. Policies and procedures have been forever altered by the pandemic. Dr. David Woolsey is an emergency medicine physician and SEIU 1991 member at Jackson Hospital. His daily routines and his practice of medicine have been drastically altered.

“First, you have to put on your protective equipment, you don’t bring anything in with you that you don’t need. You have a surgical hat and then a net over that, generally a paper gown over that which you change out after every patient.” Dr. Woolsey shared.

The changes are also impacting the way he builds rapport with patients.

“One of the big challenges to emergency medicine is establishing trust with a patient who has never seen you before, who is having probably one of the worst days of their life, and who is trusting you maybe even with their life. How do you get somebody to trust you using eye contact because they can barely hear you through the protective gear?”

In addition to the doctor’s PPE, the hospital has developed a two-tier triage system. Patients are screened before they enter the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms. This allows the doctors and nurses of Jackson to protect the patients by reducing the chances that people will be exposed to COVID-19 while in the waiting room.

In spite of all the changes to emergency care at Jackson Hospital, Dr. Woolsey is optimistic about the future because of the way the community has come together.

“Everybody’s got a job to play and everybody’s working together to fix this problem. In so many ways our community and our country is fractured along political and demographic lines. How we work together here at Jackson is a really good example of how doing so can treat this problem head on.”

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