In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians were thrust into unfamiliar roles, where they sometimes had to make life and death decisions. Here are a few of their stories.
The initial wave of COVID-19 flooded New York City hospitals with patients who urgently needed medical attention. Despite the potential dangers, psychiatrists and other physicians rushed to their aid. There were examples of inspiring teamwork and mutual support everywhere. At the same time, many physicians found themselves in new and unfamiliar roles, sometimes without the necessary mental health resources to cope with what they were seeing and doing.
In this edition of PsychPearls, hosts Angela Coombs, MD, and Jennifer Sotsky, MD, talk to Kasey Grewe, MD, and Niesha Voigt, MD, about their experiences in the early days of the pandemic.
Many physicians have undergone traumatic experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or anyone you know needs mental health resources, consider contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national hotline (800-662-HELP) or the Physician Support Line (888-409-0141).
Dr Grewe is an anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine Fellow at University of California, Los Angeles Health. Dr Voigt is a PGY 3 resident and co-chair of the Psychiatry Residents Diversity Alliance at Columbia University Medical Center.
About the hosts: Dr Coombs is a board-certified psychiatrist and assistant professor in Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She serves as the medical director and team psychiatrist at ONTrackNY Washington Heights Community Service clinic. She completed her public psychiatry fellowship and adult psychiatry residency at Columbia University where she was a chief resident and co-organized the curriculum on racial/ethnic mental health disparities. In addition to her clinical work in the public sector, she also works in Columbia's psychiatric emergency room and has a private practice in Upper Manhattan. Dr Sotsky is a fellow in consultation-liaison psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center with a part time private practice. She was formerly a chief resident at Columbia’s psychiatry residency program. Before medical training, she received an MS in Narrative Medicine, an interdisciplinary field that studies illness through a humanities lens. She is co-author of Conquering Lyme Disease: Science Bridges the Great Divide and has interests in medical education, psychotherapy, and medical humanities.
Acknowledgement: Thanks to Columbia University Department of Psychiatry for allowing us to present the Breakthrough Session podcast with experts in the field of psychiatry