She was a single mother of three girls.
Between the school closures and night shifts she hadn’t found the time to get one shot, let alone two. She did make her daughters lunches that day. They were on the kitchen table.
Her eldest called 911 when she slumped over the sink and couldn’t get up. That’s where the paramedics told me they found her, with one of her children trying to give her a glass of water.
She was so ashen they didn’t think they would get her to the hospital in time. They went with lights and sirens.
Her heart stopped as they transferred her to the stretcher. I could hear the ER staff running the code. Fully gowned and practiced, they were had her back in minutes. I could tell by the color of her lips and the frown on the respiratory therapist’s face that it wouldn’t last.
I walked over to the room and started looking through her history on the computer. She had been sick for days. There was a positive covid test in her file from days ago. In the room they start chest compressions again. Another round of epinephrine.
I know the ER doc. She’s the kindest soul I know. Her eyes plead with me to take her to the ICU.
“We keep getting her back.”
“Yes, but we can’t oxygenate her”
“But …”
“We both know the mortality of a COVID arrest.”
I cut her off before she tells me about her children.
I write a note in her chart. I try not to make eye contact with the paramedics who brought her in, in desperate fear that they will tell me more personal details of this young woman. That they will make her real. Of course I flinch.

“Where are her children?”
“Grandma has them.”
I reflexively clench my jaw knowing that her children are sick.

“Was grandma vaccinated?”

• • •

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More from @drdagly

17 Sep
Quick thoughts about how to get us out of this mess. We know that Twitter is an echo chamber. We tune our threads to hear reinforcing opinions. What is clear, is that the majority of Albertans are reasonable and pretty damn considerate. They support vaccination and passports.
The problem is that in a pandemic, minority behaviour sets the bar for all of us. So how do we reach them? First is understanding our audience. In reality, very few are immovable, and it’s the moderates that need to be swayed.
Passports may motivate people to seek out more mainstream information, and that’s why education and access to truthful and peer reviewed information is essential. We also must open up our hospitals to vetted media. Health care professionals can only do so much to show the truth.
Read 8 tweets
15 Sep
An open letter to my kidney patients….

First, let me thank you for all of your support. You never once complained that I was late, or a little disheveled. You asked how I was doing even though you were the one in need.
Let me assure you it was because I was running my clinics overtime to catch up with you after we had lost touch during the previous three waves. And I thank all of you for listening to me when I talked about vaccination despite the fact you had already done the right thing.
I thank you for the cards, the cookies, and even the gifts from your garden, not just for me, but for my staff, who were always rearranging my schedule and feeding me lunch. (Cuz apparently I get “hangry”)
Read 8 tweets
14 Sep
We are clearly on a dangerous path, especially considering we are moving into fall which will further exacerbate COVID and influenza spread. We are looking at further expansion and different staffing models but at the cost of downgrading care.…
We are looking at transferring patients to Calgary, and potentially to other provinces. The only surgeries that are being done are emergent, and that will bring us another wave of severe illness in a few months.
Triage will not be enacted until we use up all ICU resources, but there is differing opinions between what the province says we can staff and what we really can provide. This means that on some level or another physicians will have to make hard choices.
Read 9 tweets
2 Sep
Understanding why many of us are unvaccinated is crucial. The undermining of family docs and health networks has destroyed trusted leadership in many communities, a situation amplified by weak provincial leadership & worsened by targeted misinformation .…
Which then begs the question, how do we fix it? Trust takes time to build, it requires investment in social capital; education and teaching in critical thinking. It needs long term commitment to civility and compromise of absolute personal freedom. It requires public service.
Of course I’m of two minds. It’s hard not to grab at any life preserver when your drowning. I’m pretty desperate for short term mitigation strategies as well. One of the proven motivators of the undecided is a job requirement for vaccination. Yes #VaccinePassports work.
Read 9 tweets
7 Aug
I am amazed by how much and how quickly we have learned about this perfect parasite. This article gives us insight into the nuts and bolts of how mutational refinements have made delta so infectious. #covid…
First: It’s spike proteins are far more dexterous and literally able to probe the surface of our cells for the ACE2 receptor to unlock the door and gain entry.
Second, the virus as perfected a method that literally catapults in into its host cell at high velocity smooshing it into a coalescent hybrid.
Read 14 tweets
6 Aug
She was a vibrant whirlwind in class, wise beyond her 8 years with a penchant for puns. She knew all of the countries & their capitals, & took special pride in knowing the ones that had changed after her parents had put away their atlases years ago. At least that’s how she was.
Her dad couldn’t put her finger on it. So many tribulations over the last year had left their family shaken, and the death of his mother had been so prolonged and draining that the entire family had aged along with her. His wife had kept them all going when he was laid off.
Little Sophie remained “resilient”. That was the word so easily bandied about by the doctors. The pandemic had be defeated by vaccines and the schools reopened. He felt relief to see how excited she had been to go back and see her friends again. She brightened again.
Read 15 tweets

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