“You know, our doctors get more money if someone dies from Covid.” President Donald J. Trump, campaign stop in Waterford Township, MI Friday October 30, 2020.
Most, if not all physicians, I personally know whether they directly or indirectly take care of patients with COVID-19 have had to take some personal sacrifice during this pandemic. We have worked longer and more tedious hours. We have hit the books in trying to learn about this thing. We have reached out to colleagues and formed chat groups to bounce ideas off each other on how to best manage the carnage especially during the early months when there was paucity of real scientific data on how to diagnose, treat or even prevent the infection.
At our institution, we have prepared months in advance. I have personally asked meetings with the hospital administration, nursing leadership, and physician leaders on planning for the eventuality that this hits our beloved community. Countless hours were spent studying, planning, coordinating the master plan. I even had lectures in 2 separate occasions in the auditorium (presocial distancing) about the disease. Those things were done without any financial remunerations.
When the wave finally happened, my world evolved mostly on taking care of COVID-19 patients. Taking care of them is no cake walk. Prior to seeing and examining them, prerounding discussions are made with the nursing staff and other physicians involved. Donning PPEs takes a bit of time, too. While inside the patient room, we have to get a proper history and perform a thorough physical examination followed by detailed explanation to the patient what to expect during the hospital stay. We then have to remove or doff our PPEs and perform hand hygiene. Our job is not done yet. We have to tell the nurse the plan and even have to notify the other physicians on the case. Often times we have to call family members and tell them what’s happening.
Taking care of COVID-19 patients is a lot of work. I get tired just thinking about it. But I don’t. I am not complaining. This is what I do. And I do this not just for the money.
This blog is supposed to be apolitical. And it is. It just became personal when my profession comes under attack for the wrong reason.
And no, doctors are not getting more money for every death related to COVID-19.