“Thirdly, There will be a huge need for mental health for all of the people on the front lines. And this needs to start now, there should be Tele-Psych & Tele-Therapy calls going on immediately. The doctors and nurses are feeling scared and helpless, and need mental health therapy to help them through this pandemic. Also, there will be significant mental damage to a lot of these people working in these hospitals and PTSD will be very prevalent. (On average annually before this Covid-19 crisis, there were over 400 doctors committing suicide because of mental trauma suffered on the job.)”
“Also, there is a group of international doctors that are available to work in times of crisis. However they would need to acquire green cards, as they are out of the country. How can we expedite these green cards being processed, and get these experienced doctors on the front lines? If they are graduating medical students early for this crisis, why would we not also get these doctors to the hotspots in America asap?” said said Dr. Nivedita Lakhera.
“The mental well being of the nurses and doctors needs to be addressed. The trauma associated with the sheer volume of sickness and death is taking a toll on our health care workers. Doctors and nurses are forced to get their “Withdraw Care Orders” by phone from family members. Additionally these patients are dying alone with no access to family members. And in the rare cases when a family member is at the hospital, they have to watch their family member die from the other side of a window. It is a horrible situation for all parties involved which will create extended PTSD. The doctors and nurses feel powerless,” said Dr. Nivedita Lakhera.
“The game plan will be to write a national policy for the next pandemic, and make sure this never happens again. The biggest failure has been lack of federal leadership, and the need for a set policy and plan going forward. Let something good come from this, and let us learn from the mistakes that were and are being made during this current crisis,” said Dr. Nivedita Lakhera.
Dr. Lakhera is working everyday on the front-lines of this Covid-19 pandemic. The good doctor is looking to help set future national policy to make sure this failure of infrastructure does not happen again. From stockpiling PPE supplies, to having mental help available in real time, to having a nationwide coordinated response, there are policy concerns that need to be addressed. Dr, Lakhera has friends with a few contacts on Capitol Hill, and will be formally presenting these cases and how to improve our national health care system.
(Nivedita Lakhera is a doctor of internal medicine at San Jose’s O’Connor Hospital.)