Los Angeles, Steve, Morocco discussed on All Things Considered


With family and friends. If you're that person, but you may not be. You may be creeping back toward that semblance of normalcy despite the pandemic. Doing riskier things because maybe you think your immune or you couldn't possibly get this. Maybe you think it's just like the flu. The people in hospitals and ers, whose job it is to save your life in any circumstance have a different kind of fatigue. And one doctor here in Los Angeles, penned an op ed in the L A times titled On the covert front lines were tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior. Some powerful words from someone who's seen all too much of how this virus is upending lives. Mark Morocco is a physician in L. A and professor of emergency medicine over U. C. L. A. Doctor. Morocco is here with us right now. Hey there. Welcome to you. Thanks, Steve. It's great to be here and it's great to be on kcrw. You you wrote quote. Stop being cry babies about a little inconvenience. We already have more than 250,000 reasons to weep and to be thankful that we are alive and can still do something about it. Your your op ed is filled with some pretty harsh language. That's obviously intentional, right? Well, I think a lot of people forget that doctors, nurses, respiratory therapist, healthcare workers, people who take care of you in the ER and in the hospitals, especially under this kind of pressure. We're human beings, too, you know, And although we're covered by various professional oaths, and we try our best to be the best kind of people we can be, You know, we are literally fatigued to the point of breaking Trying to get ahead of this code experience and defined that some of our patients and we love our patients. We love all of our patients other we wouldn't be doing this are so complicated and so contrary that they are doing things that are Hard for us to put our heads around. And so we get frustrated with a little angry. Some people asked me in private, You know, how do you feel about what you see going on? And I say, I feel sort of sad, but I'm also hopeful and that's really the reason behind the op. Ed. You know, we are not done with this. This is the third inning of the ball game. This is a novel disease. We're learning about it as we go along. Assed. Physicians and scientists were getting better treatment. But all the stuff that we are learning it generates frustration because we as a society, I think, are used to having lots of lots of tools that are sort of magic bullets to use that similarly on biotics easy, easy fixes, you know you get a liver transplant. It's a miracle, and much of that is true, but Cove it's not ready for miracles, yet what we need is some basic Unity amongst our our our country and our world. You know this is the world is under attack. But it's not by aliens. It's by a virus and we have the ability in our hands to do simple things to have it be better, and that's where the frustration comes from. We need to be better and we think that we can be better. What do you What do you say to people, though? Who tell you Hey, look, it's Thanksgiving. I want to see my family. My mom is elderly. I want to see her. I may not get another Thanksgiving with her. You know, I think the best physicians caregivers are folks who can really empathize, put themselves in the bed with the patient and understand what the experience is like, and for doctors Now I think it's even more compelling to us because we are in the same situation. We all have the same. Fatigue and anxiety. My parents are in their in their mid eighties, They lived back in Pittsburgh. There is nothing. I would like to do more than get on a plane, you know and see them because, you know Time is fleeting. And you know, my dad had of health complication a few months ago during covert, you know, when you realize that, Yeah, You're right. You just could be the last Thanksgiving, but you have to reflect forward and think. What if I am the vector that gives them that disease and that they may or may not survive in this war. There are places where battles are fought, and we are at one of them right now. So the holiday period the winter period before we get enough of the vaccine to begin to have some effect on the whole herd Immunity issue. This is gonna be a pivot point. And that's one of the reasons that I wanted to write the op ed. And when you come to us, you're a patient, your friend, your neighbor. We want to take care of you. And it doesn't matter to us What your political stripe is or whether you thought the virus was a hoax or whether you just happened to forget to wear your mask is that will only be a few minutes. I'm gonna run in and get something to run back out and get it. We don't really care of that point, But you understand that there is a dividing line like if you wear a mask, your Succumbing to this. Some people call it a hoax. They think it it doesn't exist. They think that it was manufactured and sent to America. I mean, there are many conspiracy theories about covert 19. And so it is political wearing a mask is political or can be political. Well, it's never political in a clinical interaction. That's the first thing I would tell you, but I've been called a sheep all on so and that's okay. But it reflects sort of two failures in the communications world that is so important in medicine. Ah, failure for a unified leader like in war. Time to say, Look, This is an important thing we're doing. Everybody must make a sacrifice. And here's how you do it, And we're not asking people to make a very difficult sacrifice. These they're not dangerous drugs were asked me to take. We're not asking you to spend a lot of money. We're not asking you to go and take a personal day. In a battle right? We're asking you to do some simple things. And the other side of that coin is we scientists and doctors have some culpability to. We have to be more careful to make people understand that as we learn things, it's going to change and we're gonna let them know what the changes are. So now you know, you see, sometimes people do a study and then before it even go through peer review it's released. You know, we're doing science by press release. We've never done that before. And with a more unified message. We could have saved a lot of I've saved a lot of money, and we probably wouldn't be looking at the shutdowns we're looking at now. The next six weeks can tell us whether or not it's going to be a terrible winter or just an inconvenient one. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Are you working or You're gonna be with family or you know, I have traditionally at you silly work Thanksgiving holiday. So I will be working Thanksgiving Day tomorrow and Friday and Saturday and so that people can have a nice weekend off. We will not have a tradition that ers across the country and in the hospital ICUs always do and one of the greatest meals you'll ever have. Steve, if you ever have a chance to have a Potluck and er in a big hospital like U. C l A. You have the best meal you've ever had. Because everybody brings their family's best dish from across the wide diversity. You can imagine how many different cultures are reflected in our staff. I mean, a reflection of the diversity of Los Angeles. The food is it'll make your just your head explode. You want to go and collapse on the couch, But you can't because your work is the best meal you ever have. So after Cove, it is over and our hospitals are back open. Maybe next year, we'll invite you to the potluck and weaken both overindulge. We will miss that. But we'll be there for you. If there's any any reason you to come to the hospital, That's what we do across the country. There's other things other than covert out there and we stand ready Tow. Take care of our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen. On day hopefully get you back to the 100%.

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