WACEP President's Message, December 2020
Ryan Thompson, MD, FACEP
As I write this message, I just scheduled my appointment to get my first COVID-19 vaccine. It feels fitting for this to be the way 2020 finally goes out – a year that has been absolutely dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. State guidelines have designated frontline healthcare workers as 1A priority for vaccination, front of the line for protection. This is far from the end of COVID-19, as viral precautions, limited opening of businesses, and mask orders are likely to continue until a large portion of the general population can be vaccinated (hopefully mid 2021). However, it does perhaps feel like the end of the beginning, as Churchill might say.
This year has been a stressful one for emergency physicians all over the state. We were thrust into a pandemic with extremely limited PPE supplies, and little to go on for treatment options other than what could be glommed together from earlier hot spots like China, Italy, and New York. We saw our volumes plummet as patients feared contamination in the hospital, only to be inevitably replaced by scores of patients suffering from the virus months later, and nowhere to admit them. Some of us caught the disease ourselves. Many of us have been called liars by patients when we tell them they contracted COVID-19, even while being placed on BiPAP machines, due to rampant misinformation. Some of us had the misfortune of seeing beloved family members, friends, and colleagues succumb to the plague.
As my tenure as WACEP President draws to a close, I want to heartily thank each and every one of you for your resilience, your dedication, and your commitment to you patients and your communities. Without you, thousands more Wisconsinites would not be with their loved ones this holiday season. What you all do matters, and that fact has never been more clear than it is now. May the light at the end of the tunnel provide you some warmth, and hope, as we enter this next phase of the pandemic.
God speed, and keep up the good work. It has been an honor to serve you.