When ICU resident Dr. Donna Mursa was called to evaluate a patient with suspected COVID-19, she wasn’t scared at all. She was thrilled. She knew what possibly being infected with coronavirus might mean for her: a much-needed vacation.
“I understood what this meant immediately,” she says, noting that she had worked close to a hundred hours per week recently. “I know an opportunity when I see one.”
She headed to the emergency department’s isolation room, and rubbed her face all over the patient’s belongings.
“I took off my gloves, and I shook that patient’s hand for a long, long, long time,” she says beaming proudly. “I then touched my face around 10 times.” Reports that she had gone so far as licking her patient’s forearm were erroneous, she says.
“Eww, no. He could have scabies,” Dr. Mursa said. “I’m not crazy.”
She had already gone through four hours of training for donning and doffing personal protective equipment, she says. So, she knew where all the holes in the procedures were.
After the encounter, she immediately called the hospital’s infection control team and informed them of the incident. She was sent home immediately to begin a 14-day quarantine.
“I was absolutely psyched,” she says. Her co-residents could only marvel at her genius.
“Brilliant,” said Dr. Anita Siesta, rubbing her eyes wearily, “Simply brilliant. She’s young and healthy. Like the rest of us. This won’t kill her. I’m just pissed that she thought of it first.”
But Dr. Siesta is taking it in stride. “Game respects game,” she added.
Upon arriving home to her apartment, Dr. Mursa was confronted with the realities of a domicile that had been left in squalor during her ICU rotation, which has required 28-hour call every three days, plus afternoons enrolling patients in a research study. Clothes were strewn everywhere. Takeout boxes had colonized the kitchen table. The trash hadn’t been taken out in quite some time. Mursa took this all in stride.
“The only downside was that my cat had died and was just sorta lying there. I hadn’t even noticed I guess,” she says, adding that Fluffy had never been a particularly good boy. “Whatever, I can’t look a gift horse in the mouth here. I’ve got sleep to catch up on.”
Dr. Mursa has big plans for her 14-day quarantine. In addition to catching up on sleep, she also plans to binge watch several shows on Netflix, organize her shelves, and work on fellowship applications.