12:41 PM

LVHN Physician Leader to Providers: Rise to the Occasion and Be Gentle to Yourself


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have been expressing their gratitude to physicians and other frontline responders with spontaneous tributes and heartfelt appreciation. Italians on lockdown in Milan sang from their balconies. Buildings in Amsterdam were festooned with large “Thank You” banners. American animators have portrayed health care workers as star athletes (Matt Davies’ cartoon, March 25”) and war heroes (Mike Luckovich cartoon, March 19). Across the UK, people stopped in their tracks to applaud the National Health Service in the #clapforcarers movement. Media outlets seek the guidance of physician experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci. There has also been an outpouring of support for physicians by physicians: over 8,600 mental health professionals have offered to help New York state via telemedicine.

In our own community, we have been more fortunate than most in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. Our physician leaders and administrators are working around the clock to keep us safe by consulting experts in epidemiological modeling, communicating with state and local governments, ordering equipment and supplies, redesigning work processes and making contingency plans to increase our capacity. We have had the luxury of learning best practices from the experience of other countries and states who are ahead of us on the COVID-19 curve. The people in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas are doing their part by staying home, washing their hands and volunteering to make masks, gowns and hand sanitizers.

Today, our hospitals and offices are eerily quiet. As we brace ourselves for the patient surge coming our way, it is impossible not to sense that this will be a defining moment in our lives and careers. As health care workers, we are admired for showing up to work and doing our jobs. But just because we expect nothing less from ourselves or from our colleagues, it doesn’t mean that we are not worried about the risks we are facing.

COVID-19 is a disease that we do not fully understand yet. There will be uncertainty and difficult decisions, but also joy, when the patients under our care recover and go home. Let’s hope that this challenge brings us together and hardens our resolve to improve our healthcare system. By the time we celebrate Doctors’ Day a year from today on March 30, 2021, we will look back and see the silver linings in this crisis that are not evident to us today.

The world is counting on us. As we rise to the occasion, let’s remember to be gentle with ourselves, because we are all doing the best we can.

Do you have a "thank you" story to tell about a doctor or front-line caregiver? Share your photo, video or story with us at LVHN.org/stories. Then, look for your story here and LVHN’s social media sites.