I learned to trust my own discomfort as an indicator of the toxic power dynamics that breed abuse for both patients and health workers. I became even more attuned to the pitfalls of professionalism because of my membership in Put People First! PA (PPF-PA), a human rights organization made up of working-class people building power to win universal health care.
As I check in on my patients each morning, I wonder if some will unexpectedly decompensate and die over the coming weeks. I think about myself and my co-residents who are in the hospital all day swabbing patients for COVID-19 without adequate personal protective equipment. Many of my co-residents are on home isolation as a result of this exposure, waiting for their test results and praying that our government will step up and fund more mask production, or civilians will return the N95s they’ve hoarded, or the set of a TV medical drama will donate their props to us.
Vanessa Van Doren, MD (1 Posts)
Resident Physician Contributing Writer
Emory University School of Medicine
Vanessa Van Doren is a PGY-2 in the Emory University School of Medicine’s J. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency program and a current participant in the Health, Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Track. She is a past national board member of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) and past Health Policy Committee Leader of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine’s American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter. She co-founded the Health Advocacy Leadership Organization, a longitudinal 4-year health policy and advocacy elective at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Van Doren's career plans are focused on ways to integrate research, clinical medicine, and advocacy to help build a truly equitable health care system.