“If my team goes down, we can’t take care of patients.”
Dr. Omid Moayed is leading a team of anesthesiologists through the COVID-19 pandemic at a hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland. Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland have seen higher case numbers than almost anywhere else in the state. With its diverse population, this region has been hit especially hard.
One of the hardest moments Dr. Moayed has experienced during the pandemic has been treating and intubating a patient whose coworkers called emergency services when he stopped breathing while at work. Many people who live in this region of Maryland are essential workers who cannot work from home and are exposed to the virus. Dr. Moayed says this breaks his heart the most – no one should have to choose between their health and providing for their families.
“This hit me hard knowing that patient had to go to work to provide for their family. They knew they were sick, but they just didn’t have time to stay home,” he says.
Dr. Moayed’s team understands this reality all too well. Not only are they seeing higher numbers of cases than virtually anywhere else in the state of Maryland, but they have lost two of their own to the virus – a nurse, who had to be intubated by her own team, and a respiratory therapist who had a stroke in his home.
“This has taken a huge toll on our entire hospital, let alone those of us on call and on the front lines,” he says. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen crying in the hallway. It’s heartbreaking.”
Nevertheless, the anesthesiology team at Dr. Moayed’s hospital has soldiered on to continue to treat patients who need their expertise. Every day, he sends a positive note to the whole hospital staff thanking a different group of workers. It’s important to him to show his appreciation for all that they are doing to save patients and help their community.
“I try to encourage people that their work and life matters,” he says. “I’m incredibly blessed to work with a team going out of their way to save lives.”