Dr. Sana Maheshwari, an emergency room doctor in New York City, is sick with COVID-19.
She had been seeing patients with coronavirus-related symptoms since late February, but in the last two weeks, the number of cases coming into her hospital surged.
Around the same time, Maheshwari’s hospital started running low on personal protective equipment (PPE), as did hospitals all around the country. So Maheshwari did what all American medical workers were asked to do last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She began reusing her mask instead of throwing it away after each use like she was taught to do in medical school.
“Honestly, it felt dirty. It felt gross,” Maheshwari told HuffPost. “At the end of the day, you’re taking off all the stuff that you were wearing for 12 hours, and you walk out of the hospital feeling really gross.”
On Monday, Maheshwari, 31, woke up with a fever and tested positive for COVID-19. She’s been quarantined alone at home ever since.
While her symptoms are mild, she has already reached out to her parents to let them know what to do if her health severely deteriorates and she needs to be intubated or placed on a ventilator, as she’s seen in some other healthy 30-year-olds with the virus. Her dad, also a doctor, wanted to pick her up and bring her home to Buffalo where hospitals are less crowded because he worried about her recovery souring while she’s alone. She refused, worried about getting her parents infected, too.
“Things need to change because nothing right now is sustainable with the way it’s going and I don’t see an end near anytime soon,” she said.
Maheshwari, a resident at the hospital, spoke to HuffPost on the condition that the hospital not be identified by name because of policies that prohibit employees from talking to the press.
She can’t say for certain whether she contracted the virus at work, but she had been treating virus-positive patients in a section of her emergency...