One year later, local doctors reflect on how COVID has impacted them

Kentucky has crossed the one-year mark of its first COVID case. One thing is certain: everyone has been affected by it, especially those working in healthcare.
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 9:25 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky has now crossed the one-year mark of its first COVID-19 case.

One thing is certain; everyone has been affected by COVID-19, especially those working in healthcare.

UofL Health officials said that in the past year, they have admitted more than 2,590 COVID positive patients, and have reported 310 COVID-related deaths.

“I pretty much thought I seen just about everything come through the door up until this year,” UofL Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said. “It’s been a crazy year. I’m not even sure if I personally was a huge believer in mental fatigue or stress at work, but eight months on, I’m definitely converted. I think I know of lots of colleagues that hit a wall at some point in the last 12 months.”

Dr. Sally Suliman works in a COVID ICU unit at UofL Health, and has been taking care of some of the sickest patients throughout the year.

”Mental fatigue, physical fatigue, and exhaustion and element of repetition,” Suliman said. “You are coming in and doing these things every day, and sometimes seeing no improvements or changes, and that has its frustrations.”

”You were always worried that you will take this home,” Smith said. “Always worried something you do at the hospital will get your family sick. It just wears on you and weighs on you constantly.”

Added Suliman: ”I struggled over the holidays; (they were) hard I think because we had such a surge immediately after that. It was hard to come in ... to speak with patients who have COVID, who don’t know what is going to happen to them.”

“There is a lot more acknowledgement of mental health and what it means for us as providers and what we need to do to be safe,” Smith said. “As difficult as this year has been, there are many shining lights and examples of what we want to be out there in the community, within our own organization. We simply have to turn a corner, walk into a unit and you can see someone who has done something extraordinary in the past year to help a patient, a family member, help their community, help a friend. That is what we focus on.”

In the beginning of the pandemic, there were many grand gestures from businesses and organizations thanking healthcare workers; that’s slowed down.

There is a website that UofL has set up so you can show your support for healthcare heroes.

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