September 2, 2021

Ricky Thompson, DO (Austin, TX)

To be honest, I am completely exhausted by our pediatric center’s rising volumes. I'm watching more and more kids get sick, not only with the new Delta variant, but the myriad of other viruses that were largely prevented last year due to measures like social distancing and masking as our hospital continues to fill up.
I'm not only tired, but I'm also frustrated by the amount of distrust that I've experienced from not only parents, but patients and people who are close to me, regarding vaccination. No matter how many times I've communicated, you know, how safe and effective this vaccine is, people are still very hesitant and continue to refuse to do their part.
It's been really hard, but I think one of the main ways that I've been able to cope during this time is to really think about and focus on the kids who present to my ER, who are unable to receive the vaccine, even if they wanted to, you know, those kids who have chronic illnesses, who are immunocompromised or too young. I have to still be in it for them.

When I take, even if it's just 30 minutes to an hour out of every day to go for a run, my mind goes straight to those patients. Similar to a down syndrome girl I took care of the other day who was hooked up to hooked up to high-flow nasal cannula due to COVID, but still demanded a hug from me even when I'm in full PPE, to thank me for taking care of her.

So when I think about those patients, it reminds me of how proud I am to do this job. And it keeps me going.

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