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On the COVID-19 Front Lines

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, board certified doctors have been working on the front lines. They have developed new ways to keep health care workers safe, opened temporary hospitals, and held patients’ hands. Some of them have even been COVID-19 patients themselves.

Here are just a few of their stories.

An Emergency Physician Shares Heartbreak and Joy from His Experience on the COVID-19 Front Lines

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Wallace A. Carter, MD
American Board of Emergency Medicine
Specialty: Emergency Medicine

“I will never forget the devastated look on that man’s face as he watched the love of his life get wheeled down the hall,” said Dr. Carter. “Even as I assured him that we would take the very best care of her, I knew there was very little we could do to save her life at that advanced stage of COVID-19 …”

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A Plastic Surgeon Gets the Chance to Help Fellow New Yorkers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Peter J. Taub, MD, MS, FACS, FAAP
American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Specialty: Plastic Surgery

On September 11, 2001, Peter Taub, MD was in Los Angeles, completing his last year of medical training. Born and raised in New York City, he felt out of place as he watched his beloved city suffer in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that happened 2,700 miles away. When the global COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City in 2020, Dr. Taub was grateful to be present and eager to help his city however he could.

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A Physician Reflects on Building a Local Response to a Global Pandemic

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Jeffrey L. Levin, MD, MSPH, DrPH, FACOEM, FACP
American Board of Internal Medicine
Specialty: Internal Medicine
American Board of Preventive Medicine
Specialty: Occupational Medicine

While winding down a lifelong academic career in medicine, Jeffrey Levin, MD, expected to feel a peaceful sense of pride and accomplishment. After all, he helped train the next generation of physicians to provide expert and compassionate care for patients for decades to come. What he didn’t expect was to be serving on a team that would plan the local response to a deadly, global pandemic.

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Caring for Non-COVID Patients During the Pandemic and Health Care Workforce Safety

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Rebecca M. Minter, MD, FACS
American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery

During a global pandemic such as COVID-19 it is tempting to imagine that all health care professionals drop what they are doing and begin to work on that pandemic. Fortunately for their colleagues and patients, they do not.

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Re-engineering and Transforming Care on the COVID-19 Front Lines

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Amy J. Goldberg, MD, FACS
American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery
Subspecialty: Surgical Critical Care

As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus began to overwhelm hospitals in Seattle and New York, the team at the Temple University Health System (TUHS) started planning for the surge that was surely heading to Philadelphia.

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Temporarily Sidelined by the Coronavirus, an Emergency Physician Provides a Different Type of Care on the COVID-19 Front Lines

Ramon Johnson MD
Ramon W. Johnson, MD, FACEP, FAAP
American Board of Emergency Medicine
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
American Board of Pediatrics
Specialty: Pediatrics

“The two weeks I spent in self-quarantine were almost unbearable,” said Ramon W. Johnson, MD, an emergency medicine physician from Mission Viejo, California. “I felt like I was letting my colleagues and patients down by not being there to help.”

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A Surgeon Reflects on Communication, Education, and Family on the COVID-19 Front Lines

Gary Korus MD
Gary B. Korus, MD, FACS
American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery

“Inspirational” and “desperate” are two words Gary B. Korus, MD, uses to describe his time on the front lines of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic as a surgeon at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.

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A Physician Shares His Experience as a Patient on the COVID-19 Front Lines

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Robert K. Cleary, MD, FACS, FASCRS
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery
Specialty: Colon and Rectal Surgery
American Board of Surgery
Specialty: Surgery

Robert K. Cleary, MD, knew that a global pandemic was coming. He just never imagined he would be one of its victims. Instead of helping patients on the front lines, he found himself in a bed in his own hospital, fighting for his life.

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An Emergency Physician Reflects on Gratitude, Strength, and Education on the COVID-19 Front Lines

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Erin Brennan, MD, MPH
American Board of Emergency Medicine
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
Subspecialty: Emergency Medical Services

When asked to describe the three weeks she spent during the COVID-19 surge in her busy Detroit hospital’s emergency department, Erin Brennan, MD, MPH, is at a momentary loss for adequate words.

While she would like to accurately describe the horror and seemingly impossible odds she and her team faced, she feels strongly about acknowledging the inspiring strength and generosity she witnessed.

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A Military Veteran Shares His Experience on the COVID-19 Front Lines

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James R. Ficke, MD
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Specialty: Orthopaedic Surgery

It took just a few minutes for James Ficke, MD to agree to become the director for the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital for COVID-19 patients.

“It may be a cliché, but I believe that health care professionals are called to serve the greater good,” said Dr. Ficke. “With my patients’ elective orthopaedic surgeries on hold during the pandemic, I was available and eager to serve on the frontlines to fight COVID-19.”

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