Immigrant and minority physicians at the frontline of pandemics

April 28, 2020

Immigrant and minority physicians at the frontline of pandemics

“I could hear the breathing from the door without my stethoscope. Do you know what it sounds like? It’s like the sound of broken glass rubbing against itself.”An ICU nurse sat across from me, the emotional baggage visible on her eyelids as she stood six feet away. I held the N95 mask by the strings and placed it in a paper bag, careful not to expose the interior, then invited her to sit down. She came to me during a graveyard shift when I was alone training hospital personnel on the extended use of personal protective equipment. In spite of the unnerving risk and countless hours she labored due to the imbalance of providers to patient volume, she was resolute. The more she shared, the more reminiscent her descriptions of the ICU were of the “Blue Death,” otherwise called the Spanish flu of 1918, which claimed more lives in two years than AIDS has in decades. Then she said she was from Romania. I couldn’t help but wonder if a century ago she would have been in a position to assist against the grandfather of pandemics due to her status as a foreigner. READ MORE