Guest post by Clare Cammarano
I am a physician from Tacoma, Wa; 20 miles south of Seattle—the flashpoint of the COVID 19 epidemic in the US. I have always loved science and philosophy and Star Trek has offered the best of both worlds; ever since I started watching TOS in grade school in the 70s. As an OB/GYN Resident in the 90s, working 36 hours on call, 12 hours off, thinking I wouldn’t survive 4 years of brutal sleep deprivation and constant stress, TNG was my go to stress reliever. You hear a lot about doctors being detached from their patients. It’s not true. When things go wrong in medicine, as they inevitably do, it can be crippling. Invariably you go over every judgement call, every decision, every intervention. Medicine is an art as well as a science. You should never be over-confident in medicine, and you should clearly ask for help when you need it; but you do need to be confident in your education and your decisions, like any good starship Captain. One of my personal favorite quotes is from Captain Picard to Data: “It is possible to commit no errors and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” I think the best doctors are like the best Captains; they are not afraid to fail and they always try.
I’m a lot older now, my career as a Robotic surgeon was sidelined by Rheumatoid Arthritis. I now work in Urgent Care—repurposed after hand and eye complications. I am asthmatic and immunosuppressed from the medication I take for the RA. When COVID 19 hit WA state (first in the nation!) our Urgent Care clinic was the first to start COVID swab testing. We were allowed ONE surgical mask per 12 hour shift. One gown. Our shift consisted of one MD (me) a nurse practitioner, and a PA. The clinic administrator walked in that first day and asked,”who wants to do the COVID testing?” You could have heard a pin drop. This was back in March when very little was known about the disease. We were all terrified. Why does the Hippocratic Oath sound so much like Captain Pike’s voice in my head? “You are Captain of this particular sinking ship. Hit it.” So I did.
You can follow Clare Cammarano on Twitter at @Clareskates88
Guest blogs represent the views of the guest blogger.