This week’s column features responses from Eaton Rapids Medical Center’s (ERMC) Chief of Emergency Medicine, John Fata, MD. Dr. Fata is an emergency medicine physician with more than 20 years of experience who has been practicing at Eaton Rapids Medical Center for more than a decade. He took the time to answer some of the community’s most asked questions and provide insight into the current state of the pandemic for emergency medical providers.
What is the most important thing for the community to understand about COVID-19?
“It’s essential for people to know that COVID-19 is a very easily transmissible disease and it is quite simple to spread it from person to person. Close contact with others and being in crowds both increase the chances of catching the virus, so it’s important to avoid those situations if possible. Also, it’s important to remember that this virus is very dangerous for patients in the high-risk categories, as well as the elderly.”
In what ways is COVID-19 currently impacting your job?
“The high number of cases in our area does make our job in the emergency department more difficult at times. Because the larger hospitals have been quite full with COVID-19 patients recently we have had some difficulty getting our patients transferred to those facilities when needed. But it’s important that people know they can expect the same level of service from the providers at ERMC as they received before the pandemic. The only difference is that our staff now wear an N95 mask and face shield or goggles during all encounters.”
What else do you want members of the community to know?
“The pandemic has changed the way our careers in emergency medicine are viewed. Going to work every day with the possibility of catching a deadly disease that could be brought home and spread among our families is a very sobering and frustrating issue for providers. However, with that said, we are still 100% committed to providing quality, compassionate care to our patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the emergency department. We are and will remain your community hospital, and we are here to care for you.”
The team at Eaton Rapids Medical Center has made it a core focus to institute new safety measures to keep staff, patients, and visitors safe within the facility. The community hospital requires all staff who are in contact with patients or other staff members to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, including N95 masks and face shields when applicable, all visitors and patients are being screened at entry points for potential COVID-related symptoms, and ERMC’s maintenance and plant operations teams have made several updates to the facility to improve airflow, provide space for social distancing, and create additional rooms for patients who require isolation measures.