Mobile doctor describes what it’s like working the frontlines of COVID-19

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — News 5 spoke with one Mobile doctor, who is currently working on Mobile Infirmary’s COVID-19 floor, about what all they’re seeing while treating patients and what they need from the public.

“Working on the COVID floor has been a new experience, a humbling experience,” said Dr. Adrian Divittorio, a pulmonary and critical care doctor within the Infirmary Health System.

Dr. Divittorio is caring for COVID-19 patients. He says they’re currently working in 10-12 hour shifts, to try and decrease the amount of people who come into contact with patients.

“We’re taking care of them around the clock. It’s every medical diagnosis that could come to light is coming through, renal failure, heart attack, stroke, sepsis, all related to coronavirus.”

As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, there are 710 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mobile County. 81 are hospitalized. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Alabama hit its peak for resource use four days ago. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a need for more personal protective equipment.

“Just in my hospital alone, not only are our intensive care units full with patients with coronavirus, we have people on the non-intensive care unit corona floor who are not critically ill on a ventilator, but they are coming in sick, testing positive. There’s a tremendous amount of nurses and respiratory therapists and other healthcare providers taking care of these folks, and they’re changing their masks, gowns, gloves routinely, multiple times throughout the day. so we go through some equipment quickly through one day, so donations are still encouraged and welcomed,” said Dr. Divittorio.

The Medical Society of Mobile County is still accepting donations of PPE at their offices: 2701 Airport Boulevard. There is a drop-off bin out front.

Dr. Divittorio says the patients who are sick with the virus are extremely ill.

“Anything that could go wrong with these patients, will go wrong. And they go from being perfectly fine to being revived one minute later,” said Dr. Divittorio.

Dr. Divittorio says social distancing is working. He explained, “As a doctor, I can empathize and I can understand the community’s concern about trying to get back into business, open the economy. But there’s also a lot of unfounded truths out there, the truth is, we are in the midst of this battle with coronavirus we are seeing people die routinely every day, and we’re talking about young people, middle-aged people, elderly people dying in intensive care units without their family around because they’re not allowed to come in the hospital.”

But, he adds that this fight is not over yet.

“Until we see better control of the COVID virus, then going out with a mask when we’re in close proximity to other people, such as a grocery store or a store of any essential supply. Then wearing a mask would certainly be recommended and advocated to flatten or decrease the curve of new infectivity,” he said.

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