Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital is on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19
Dr. Maita Kuvhenguhwa, infectious disease specialist at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital
I came to work at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital because I felt like I could make a difference here and provide quality care, regardless of my patients’ ability to pay. As an Infectious Diseases physician, I am comfortable managing contagious and dangerous diseases like Tuberculosis, but the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a whole new set of challenges. Treatment options for patients are limited and we still have a lot to learn about this virus. Its effects can be severe and sometimes fatal, but the large majority of patients we have seen survive. I have cared for patients who were critically ill, on a ventilator in the intensive care unit and weeks later are recovering and preparing for discharge home. One thing that has become clear is that people believe in MLKCH: we have received donations including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is helping us stay healthy and care for our patients.
Initially working on the front lines was very daunting because of all of the uncertainty of how the virus was being transmitted and daily updates/changes to stay ahead of the surge. In the first few weeks of the epidemic we nurses worried about not having the proper PPE or equipment to stay safe and not transmit it to our loved ones. As this crisis has gone on we have developed standards of practice that we believe will keep the community, our families and lastly ourselves safe as we treat our patients. The question is often asked if I am scared to come work now? My answer has been “that this is what I signed up for, I am here in a time of need for someone in distress.” It makes it a lot easier to do this with all of the support from my fellow nurses, techs, patient care technicians, and our environmental services staff.