Talk about a stroke of bad luck. Brain surgeon and TV personality Sanjay Gupta goes to Afghanistan to do some reports for CNN and contracts the H1N1 virus while he’s there. Read all about it on his blog.
Is there something ironic about a doctor coming down with an illness that we’ve been getting warned about for months? Probably not. After all, a war zone’s a big place, there are lots of people around and you wouldn’t have the best opportunity for cleanliness. Plus, the vaccine won’t be available for a few more weeks.
If anything, it’s just a reminder of the risks that medical professionals take by spending so much time in the company of sick people. It’s a surprise they don’t get sicker. With the big numbers of kids picking up the flu locally, I’m sure doctors are advising parents to not bring their kids to the office or hospital.
The last time I caught a really bad cold, it was when I lived in Atlanta. I was in the very small waiting room of my doctor’s office. Even though I was there for a routine follow up, I think that I, along with everyone else in the room, picked up the cold that the really sick guy in the corner of the room was trying to share with us.
I’m sure the “sick” doctor seems like a dichotomy at times. The seriously overweight doctor urging his patients to lose weight (sounds apocryphal I know, but I’ve heard it from several people telling it as their own story). I actually know a heart doctor with a wicked smoking habit. I spent more time talking to him in the LeBonheur parking garage than inside the hospital. He said it relaxed him, so what can you do?
However, Dr. Gupta’s case, as well as the tent set up at LeBonheur’s ER a week or so ago should remind us to do what we can to avoid becoming an H1N1 statistic. There’s a very information-rich website set up by the government (I hope the anti-reformers don’t seize on it as being a step toward socialized health care) at flu.gov. It even has a nice little rap flu video by Dr. John Clark of Baldwin, NY.
And remember, as Dr. G also reminds us, don’t blame that pig with the hacking cough for all your problems. Even though it’s still being called the “swine” flu in some quarters, it’s really a Type A flu with a number of elements, including bird flu.
Keep washing your hands, keep common areas clean (don’t go crazy with the disinfectant, you don’t want to go breeding resistant bugs) and do what the interim mayor did to prevent any risk of making the Dalai Lama sick. Go with fist bumps instead of handshakes until the flu crisis has passed.