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Medics grapple with mental trauma on COVID-19 front line
From:
Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian
Eugene , OR
Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Frank King, Suicide Prevention Speaker
 
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NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Anne Messman, a veteran emergency room physician in Detroit, knew something was wrong when she developed insomnia and became unusually irritated with people she loved.

She began experiencing persistent sleepless nights in late March, around the time seven COVID-19 patients died in a single nine-hour shift. But she did not think her insomnia was due to the dramatic one-day death toll.

As an ER doctor, death was no stranger to her. Perhaps, it was that the victims' families had to be informed by phone because relatives are barred from hospitals fighting the highly infectious disease.

Perhaps, she thought, the sleeplessness was fueled by worries about her own safety. She takes medication that suppresses her immune system, putting her at higher risk from the coronavirus.

Or maybe it was the possibility she could bring the virus home to her children, aged 8 and 9. Then there were photographs in the media of bodies stacked in portable refrigerated storage units at Sinai Grace, the hospital where she works.

Messman, 37, wondered if relatives of COVID-19 victims would see the photos of the body bags and worry that a loved one was piled on top of a stranger. "I guess that to me was more disturbing than the death itself," she said in a telephone interview.

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