Job: Medical doctor and chief quality officer at Hoag
Family: Daughters Nicolette Petrie, 10, and Natasha Petrie, 8. Her husband, Russell Petrie, is an orthopedic surgeon.
What is your role on the COVID-19 team at Hoag?
“I am working very closely with infection prevention, as well as administration and medical staff leadership on our preparedness efforts.”
What’s it been like on the frontline?
“At times overwhelming, but more than anything, the collaboration has been tremendous with regard to everybody pitching in, everybody using their particular skillset, talent, leadership skills, everybody coming together and in a concerted effort to really ensure that we are prepared to take care of the patients we have and also prepared to handle additional volume that may come our way as well. There’s been so many moving parts and everybody’s working so diligently and in such a collaborative fashion to really ensure that we’re as prepared as we can be and also delivering great care to the patients that have already been through our hospital, or in our hospital currently. It’s been a tremendous effort, incredibly humbling as well.”
How does COVID-19 compare to what you’ve experienced before?
“The biggest challenge is the unknown. Humans have never seen this disease. We don’t have immunity to it. There’s obviously not a vaccine. Right now we’re going through all the different possible treatments. There’s no playbook for this. And that’s what’s causing I’d say a lot of the angst is the concept of the unknown. … I think identifying what a COVID patient looks like when they hit our doors — we’re learning. We are learning and the best way I can put is probably, we’re building the plane and we’re flying it at the same time. But we’re doing that very rapidly.”
Are you concerned about your family’s exposure?
“We take care of dozens of communicable diseases here at this hospital. We are used to taking care of things such as tuberculosis, sometimes measles believe it or not, multi-drug resistant organisms. I subscribe … to strict hand hygiene, doing all the things that the CDC is telling us to do — avoiding touching my face, rubbing my eyes. I am washing my hands probably no less than 100 times a day or sanitizing them. … I’m pretty much doing everything I’ve always done when I take care of other communicable diseases.”
How have things changed at home?
“The kids are at home and they’re doing distance learning at this point. They are pretty savvy when it comes to understanding the importance of the hygiene … they understand this is a global issue. We’re very lucky in that they’ve adapted well. My husband and I have been very honest about it … but in a very matter-of-fact manner without trying to dramatize it. The information that we do share with them is I think age-appropriate. When we get home, my husband and I, we do not talk about COVID non-stop. If the kids have a question, we’re happy to answer it. We want to maintain that sense of normalcy.”
Did you ever imagine you’d be on the frontline of something like this?
“I’m a biologist by training … and actually spent quite a bit of time in a virology lab after college. And actually ran research on viruses at UC San Diego. I’ve had a healthy, healthy respect for infections, in particular viruses, for quite some time. I trained at the tail end of the AIDS epidemic, I lived through H1N1 in the late 2000s, and then obviously with the Ebola situation over the past few years as well, I knew it was just a matter of time before one of these viruses was gonna be what I like to call the Goldilocks virus. I always felt that this was just a matter of time before the right virus would come up that would be able to hit all those parameters and it would really be a true pandemic.”
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