At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors were plunged into unfamiliar roles, where they sometimes had to make life and death decisions. Here are some of their stories.
The initial wave of COVID-19 flooded New York hospitals with patients in urgent need of medical attention. Despite the potential dangers, psychiatrists and other doctors rushed to their aid. There were examples of inspiring teamwork and caring everywhere. At the same time, many doctors found themselves in new and unfamiliar roles, sometimes without the mental health resources to deal with what they saw and did.
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 doctors have had traumatic experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health resources, consider contacting the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline (800-662-HELP) or Physician Support Line ( 888-409-0141).
Dr Grewe is a Fellow in Critical Care Medicine in Anesthesiology at the University of California, Los Angeles Health. Dr Voigt is a resident of PGY 3 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 of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is the medical director and team psychiatrist at the ONTrackNY Washington Heights Community Service clinic. She completed her Public Psychiatry Fellowship and Adult Psychiatry Residency at Columbia University where she was the Chief Resident and co-hosted the Racial / Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health Program. In addition to her clinical work in the public sector, she also works in the Columbia Psychiatric Emergency Room and has a private practice in Upper Manhattan. Dr Sotsky is a consultation-liaison psychiatry researcher at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center with a part-time private practice. She was previously the chief resident of the Columbia Psychiatry Residency Program. Prior to her medical training, she received a master’s degree in narrative medicine, an interdisciplinary field that studies disease through a humanities lens. She is co-author of Beating Lyme disease: Science bridges the gap and has interests in medical education, psychotherapy and medical humanities.
Recognition: Thanks to the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University for allowing us to present the Breakthrough Session podcast with experts in the field of psychiatry.