APMA News - September/October 2020 - 23

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ince March, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted
health-care providers' lives in historic ways, spurring
them to improvise amid fear, uncertainty, and scarce
resources. At Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a
Harvard-affiliated community health system located just outside Boston, two podiatric surgical residents, Garrett Melick,
DPM (third-year), and Joslin Seidel, DPM (first-year), volunteered to be part of the first wave redeployed to the front line
to care for COVID-19 patients when the strain on available
providers reached a critical level. APMA News spoke with Drs.
Melick and Seidel to learn more about their inspiring work to
serve their patients and communities in a time of unprecedented need.
APMA News: What were the first days of caring for COVID-19
patients like?
Dr. Seidel: I was typically at the hospital from 6:30 a.m.-
7:30 p.m. I am not going to sugarcoat it-the first day was
scary. Everything I was accustomed to had changed and was
constantly changing. The hospital I rounded at every morning looked and functioned nothing like it used to; white
Tyvek suits and face shields lined the walls, and the hallways
were cluttered with carts of PPE and cleaning solution.
Dr. Melick: My first few days were orientation to the internal
medicine COVID team and overall structure. This involved
learning the workflow (as there were many strategies
developed to make things run efficiently) and slowly building
up the number of patients I was managing. As we already
have an internal medicine service incorporated into our
training, most of this orientation happened quickly.
APMA News: What did your friends and family have to say
about you working on the front lines?
Dr. Seidel: Fortunately, I do not live with my family, so I did
not have to fear exposing them to the virus. When they heard
I was going to be treating COVID patients, they were definitely
afraid. They were hearing stories of healthy residents in New
York becoming ill and losing their lives. I think those not in
direct contact had more fear than those on the front lines.
People tend to be scared of the unknown, and this pandemic
came with so many uncertainties.
Dr. Melick: My wife was a resident in Connecticut at the
time, so she understood the task at hand very well. My
parents were somewhat concerned that I was managing
COVID patients, but I think they were proud that I wanted to
help out. Some of my other friends in podiatry were deployed

in a similar fashion, but to those who remained on the
podiatry service, it seemed pretty daunting that I was
switching my daily life so much.
APMA News: What was the rapport like between you and fellow
health-care workers?
Dr. Seidel: It was a team effort. It was wonderful to see not
only our health-care community but our nation as a whole
come together to fight this pandemic. Health-care workers
were redeployed throughout hospital systems. I was often
working with attending physicians from all sorts of
subspecialties, which was such a wonderful learning
opportunity. We had academics almost daily, where someone
from the team would teach the group about a specific topic
within their field of expertise. I had an amazing team, and I
am so thankful for each of them. There was never any conflict
among our team. We were all in it together, and everyone was
more than willing to pull their weight and do whatever was
best for our patients and our team.
Dr. Melick: The whole interdisciplinary medicine team,
including nursing staff, was amazing to work with. Many
practitioners were working outside of their comfort zones,
but everyone was willing to put in the work and support
fellow staff. But every day was stressful in its own way.
APMA News: Do you think there were any preconceived notions or perspectives about each provider's value to the healthcare team? Did those notions change during this experience?
Dr. Seidel: It is truly amazing how everyone has come
together. Barriers have been broken, labels have been
removed, and our community is working together for the
greater good. I think seeing everyone come together in a time
of crisis has brought us all closer together. We have a greater
appreciation for each other.
Dr. Melick: Many residents and physicians stepped up to the
plate by working in roles that they were not accustomed to. I
think all departments gained a profound respect for each
other. One of our main tenets in the health-care system at
CHA is diversity, and I have always felt welcome as an integral
part of the hospital team. Working on the COVID floors only
reinforced that feeling for me.
APMA News: Give us an idea what the rhythm of your day was
like and if it varied from day to day?
Dr. Seidel: On a normal day, I never take breaks, as there is
always something to be done. I meal-prepped all of my food
continued on page 24
APMA News September/October 2020

23



APMA News - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of APMA News - September/October 2020

Contents
APMA News - September/October 2020 - Cover1
APMA News - September/October 2020 - Cover2
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 3
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 4
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 5
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 6
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 7
APMA News - September/October 2020 - Contents
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 9
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 10
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 11
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 12
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 13
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 14
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 15
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 16
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 17
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 18
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 19
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 20
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 21
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 22
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 23
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 24
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 25
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 26
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 27
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 28
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 29
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 30
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APMA News - September/October 2020 - 53
APMA News - September/October 2020 - 54
APMA News - September/October 2020 - Cover3
APMA News - September/October 2020 - Cover4
APMA News - September/October 2020 - A1
APMA News - September/October 2020 - A2
APMA News - September/October 2020 - A3
APMA News - September/October 2020 - A4
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