"I have to worry about hugging my kids after work because I might have droplets on my neck or my hair. We have had to take extraordinary measures"
Paul Koblic and Yashi Yathindra are staff emergency doctors at North York General and Mount Sinai hospitals – they’re also husband and wife.
Paul Koblic: On any given shift, you can start by saving lives or watching people die, and at the end of your shift you are cleaning up scrapes. With COVID, we’ve been seeing some very sick people who need to go on ventilators, because basically they can’t breathe for themselves anymore. That process is sedating them, paralyzing them and putting a tube down their throat. That is the most dangerous part of our jobs and the most dangerous part of their trip through the hospital.
Yashi Yathindra: We’re health-care workers. We have the potential of getting sick. We also have two kids at home, who can potentially get sick. We have the luxury of alternating our shifts so that one person is always home. I was working today. Paul had the kids.
Koblic: Which is work too! At the end of today, with the two kids, I was scrolling for those essential-worker daycare phone numbers.
Yathindra: Now I have to worry about hugging my kids after work because I might have droplets on my neck or my hair. We have had to take extraordinary measures to make sure we don’t bring the virus home.
Everything I need for work like my stethoscope, badge and pen are in a plastic Ziploc bag that’s in another bag that doesn’t come back into my house. After my shift, where we put on and take off PPE under close supervision, I sanitize all my stuff and put it back into a Ziploc bag deposit my scrubs in the scrub machine leave my “contaminated” shoes at the hospital and put on an alternate pair I wear to go home. This is after multiple rounds of hand washing.
I drive home. As soon as I park, I sanitize my hands and steering wheel (we have sanitizer in the car). Our garage leads to our laundry room. I take off all my clothes and put them right in the washing machine, and then run upstairs as fast as I can to shower right away.
Koblic: Best part of my day! The evidence of people getting sick from dirty clothes is not there. There’s no proof that it’s an issue. But at the same time, if I could get naked at the front door and go upstairs, I’m going to do it!
At the very beginning when this started and we were screening people differently – no masks or face shields for every patient – I saw a patient who eventually admitted to having some symptoms that might have been a risk factor. For part of that interview, I had not had a mask on. Yashi wouldn’t let me into the house after that. I went straight to the basement.
Yathindra: I delivered dinner and his bed sheets to the basement entrance. I was scared! We waited for the patient’s swab results, which were negative, before I let him back in the house.