(Courtesy: Parkland Health and Hospital System)

Healthcare

A Parkland Doctor Reflects on Her Time Working in the COVID Ward

Fighting a language barrier is difficult. Now try doing it through PPE.

Back in June, I got an email from a woman I’d never met named Lindsay Ripley. Lindsay introduced herself, said she was an internal medicine physician working at Parkland Memorial Hospital. She sent along a story she’d written about Parkland and wondered if it might be right for D Magazine.

I hate email like this. Unlike practicing internal medicine, nearly everyone can write. It’s just that very few do it well. Of course, you can’t say that. “Sorry, your story is terrible, and it therefore doesn’t suit our needs.” No, no, no. I have to come up with a polite way to say “thank you but no thank you.” I can’t say I always deliver the message gracefully.

So I opened Lindsay’s story with one eye closed, dreading what I’d find. You can guess how this story ends. Lindsay, it turns out, can put a sentence together. What she’d sent wasn’t right for the magazine, but it showed promise. I told her as much and suggested she write something more personal. I offered to talk if she was interested. She didn’t reply to that invitation, and, frankly, that’s the last I figured I’d hear from her. A busy doc. She had a fleeting desire to write something other than prescriptions. Now she was back to her day job.

Then Lindsay’s second effort showed up in my inbox. What a delightful surprise.

She wrote about volunteering to put aside her normal rounds and work for a week in Parkland’s COVID-19 ward. She focused on the challenge of caring for patients who don’t speak English and doing so through multiple layers of personal protective equipment.

Dr. Lindsay Ripley’s essay ran in the November issue of D Magazine. It went online today. It’s a wonderful read, and it couldn’t be more timely. Yesterday, Dallas County reported 1,248 new cases of people infected with the coronavirus. 

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