Doctor on Doctors Working During Covid: “They Didn’t Need to Do It”

Doctor on Doctors Working During Covid:

Halsey Robinson ('22)

STANWICH ROAD/REMOTE – Bringing your work home has always been fraught.  Nowadays for front-line workers, especially in the medical field, it can be downright dangerous.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus brought with it new lifestyles for perhaps billions worldwide.  Hospital workers, like millions of others, have to deal with the quarantine lifestyle. However they have an added fear on top of this: the chance of catching Covid-19 and worse yet, accidentally delivering it to their community.

Dr. Christopher Fey is the Chief of Radiology at Greenwich Hospital and he entered medicine for all the right reasons.

“I wanted to do something intellectually interesting, that also had measurable consequences,” he said.

His duty at the hospital consists of collecting data on patients, with any number of devices, and coming up with a diagnosis.  He works with a team of fellow doctors who all try and figure out complicated problems with the help of imaging software.  This work and type of endeavor uses many of the skills the medical community now needs as it battles a new strain of virus.

“In medicine, at least in radiology, you’re going through intellectual processes, communicating, having discussions, making theories, considering things, trying to figure out what your position – what your opinion – is, and then it matters if your opinion is right or not,” he explained.  “And if you’re good at it, you can be helpful and part of a team that helps people.” 

During the outbreak of Covid-19, Dr. Fey has not had as many encounters with infected patients as other medical professionals.  In fact, his department of radiology has actually received less work during Covid as patients are less likely to have non-critical care during this time.   

Yet he always changes and sanitizes his clothes, always wears a mask, and is very meticulous about his personal hygiene, as there is always the possibility of a Covid patient at the hospital, and he wants to protect his family.   

Some nights when he comes home, he tells his family that he dealt with an infected patient that day.  They all worry, not just for their own safety, but for his.  Teams at work and family at home are all reaching new levels of worry over the past few months.

Dr. Fey, as well as thousands of other medical personal, are nervous about the possibility of Covid coming into their communities. But those in medicine continue to work, despite their fears.

“I have to say that I greatly admire a lot of the doctors who just kept coming in, day-after-day, going to these rooms where there’s people coughing twenty-four-hours-a-day with Covid,” he said.  “And these doctors with families, they didn’t need to do it. They felt it was the right thing to do, and I’m very proud to be associated with them.”

While nurses and doctors and those who clean the hospitals and clinics continue to work, thereby putting family in a certain risk pool, Dr. Fey does say everyone needs to make their own call based on their own metrics.

“I think there’s a time when no matter how valuable you think what you’re doing is, if it becomes frightening enough, you wouldn’t want to do it.”

But as long as (by definition) hospitals are the places where the sick, unhealthy, wounded, and even those who need a regular checkup come to be treated, doctors, nurses and those who manage and work on the spaces where they operate will answer their medical call of duty.

Halsey Robinson is a rising junior who is interested in the lives of those who fight for our country.