Wyvern parents in the medical field respond to COVID-19

Features

Many KO parents are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19. Doctors and nurses have stepped up during this difficult time, taking on new roles, working extra hours, and putting their own lives on the line to fight for the lives of others. 

One parent in the medical field who has seen a change in his daily routine is Mitchell McClure, father of freshman Alice McClure. Dr. McClure is a physician at Hartford Healthcare. Recently, he has had to move out of his usual room in their home and live in a guest bedroom in the basement. This decision was made out of caution because despite not having come into any direct contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient, Dr. McClure has been in contact with those who have been administering tests. In addition, he has been in meetings with people who have been working with COVID-19 patients. 

At Hartford Healthcare, Dr. McClure has experienced an increase in his workload with many meetings about administering the tests, how long it takes to get test results, and the overall logistics of caring for coronavirus patients. 

Due to the current situation, the McClure family has had to make some adjustments to their daily lives. They leave Dr. McClure’s meals on the top of the basement stairs and have to utilize digital resources to communicate with him. 

“Sometimes we FaceTime him during dinner so it’s more similar to what we usually do,” Alice said. Additionally, the family is able to go on some outdoor walks with him while maintaining a six foot distance. 

Dr. McClure, with his first hand experience, stresses the importance of following the governmental guidelines and staying at home. “For our physical well-being, it’s important that we practice social distancing to stop the spread of the virus,” Dr. McClure said. “However, it’s also important that we care for each other and care for ourselves by staying connected with one another through various means online. It’s normal to be stressed by this and have trouble coping with it, but we will get through this together.”

Another KO parent who is at the forefront of this pandemic is my father, Lane Duvall. Dr. Duvall is the Associate Director of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital and has also not yet come in contact with any confirmed coronavirus patients. Like Dr. McClure, Dr. Duvall has witnessed many changes at the hospital. Multiple intensive care units have been reserved for COVID-19 patients as well as entire floors of the hospital. There are currently over 100 patients who have tested positive, already for the virus, or are suspected to test positive. He stresses the uncertainty of the situation and how the hospital has had to rapidly adapt to a completely new situation. 

“There are no medical personnel who have ever experienced anything like this in their careers,” Dr. Duvall said. “The H1N1, SARS-1 or MERS outbreak in the last 20 years are not comparable to COVID-19 in the number of patients that became seriously ill or died.”

Dr. Duvall has been forced to take on some added responsibilities in his job during this time. “The surge of patients has not yet arrived in Central Connecticut so the hospital is continuing to make preparations for large numbers of seriously ill patients to arrive,” Dr. Duvall said. He has specifically been working on creating an additional intensive care unit capacity for sick patients who will need ventilator support. 

Dr. Duvall, like Dr. McClure, wants the KO community to understand the severity of the situation. “People of all ages should take it seriously, as even younger patients can become seriously ill for long periods of time with COVID-19,” he said.