Wake County EMS (N.C.) shared with us the following story.
For two medical fellows, the EOC is as much a classroom as a jobsite.
This springs sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has upended lives. Gatherings have been canceled, weddings postponed, businesses shuttered, families separated and, tragically, lives have been lost.
Yet, for some, this time of trial is an opportunity to grow and learn.
During the pandemic, the Wake County Emergency Operations Center is helping forge two future leaders of emergency medicine. The young doctors were wrapping up EMS fellowships at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine when the crisis hit, and since then, Dr. Johannah Merrill and Dr. Mariecely Luciano-Feijoo have served in equal measure alongside Wake Countys full-time emergency medicine staff in the EOClearning firsthand more they ever could about public health response from a text book.
This is a horrible thing to have happened, but Im glad it happened at this point in my training and not next year, when I wouldnt have had the experience that I have now, said Dr. Johannah Merrill, who will move to Massachusetts next month to become an EMS medical director.
For Dr. Mariecely Luciano-Feijoo, who was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the eventual goal is to take what shes learned stateside back home to improve her islands EMS system.
I could not have asked for better teaching than to be actively learning like this, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo said. It is easy to read and try to understand certain things, but theyre not easy to apply unless youve lived through them.
It takes a certain personality to thrive in EMS.
Where most grow flustered when a days plans go awry, these women thrive on the chaos of a day spent running from crisis to crisis. Sit them down for an interview, and they exude that powerful, calm sense of energy that comes with competence, and they look ready to leap into action at any moment.
Dr. Merrill, who graduated in 2016 from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in her hometown of Charlottesville, said the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of EMS work drew her to the field. In 2019, she completed a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
Aside from the thrill of the job, Dr. Merrill said she appreciates being the first physician to see a patient after an emergency.
Some of a patients most critical moments occur in the pre-hospital environment, she said. Thats when we have a really big ability to make a difference.
For Dr. Luciano-Feijoo, COVID-19 is the second disaster to have shaped her career. She completed medical school in 2016 at the University of Puerto Rico and, the following year, Hurricane Maria hit during her residency in emergency medicine at a local hospital. In the days and weeks that followed, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo found her homes emergency medical infrastructure to be underfunded and out of date.
Our EMS system has a lot of limitations, and that did not help the Puerto Rican population in that kind of disaster, she said. That brought me to the states to get a better sense of a proper EMS system, and a better understanding of how I could bring that knowledge back to Puerto Rico.
The program at UNC-Chapel Hill caught her eye, because fellows split their time between Wake County and neighboring Orange County. Working with Wake County has allowed her to see whats possible in a large EMS system, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo said, and Orange County, which has about 1/7th of Wakes population, has taught her how to operate on a scale closer to what shell see back in Puerto Rico.
Although she didnt set out for a career in EMS, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo has a heritage of running toward disasters. Her mother, Celia Feijoo-Nieves, was one of the first two women to become firefighters in Puerto Rico in 1989. It was later that year, during a routine physical following her first big fire, an examiner told her she was pregnant.
So Ive been going into emergencies since before I was born, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo joked. And throughout my childhood, I sometimes went with my mother to emergencies on the fire truck when she was able to take me.
The fellows will tell you theyre learning a lot in the EOC, and most of that comes as a byproduct of hard work. Each takes turns rotating into the role of EMS medical director, which is a position with defined duties in the EOC command structure.
The days vary widelyjust how the doctors like italthough their time is spent planning and directing others rather than rendering aid. Wake County activated its EOC in response to COVID-19 on March 5 and, as the county moved to combat a never-before-seen virus, the fellows helped create new workflows and protocols for public health and EMS staff.
These days, Drs. Luciano-Feijoo and Merrill are working closely with facilities that have reported outbreaks, making sure theres follow-up on positive tests results and coordinating strike teams, along with any other tasks that arise throughout the day.
The EOC brings together staff from across disciplines to coordinate quick and decisive action. While Dr. Merrill has years of experience in EMS, she said her time in the EOC has helped her see how various departments fit together into the bigger picture of emergency management.
The thing thats been the most beneficial has been learning how to coordinate between a bunch of different services, such as fire and law enforcement, she said. They all have different priorities, because they have different things to worry about, and its been beneficial to see how that all fits together.
In addition to their long hours in the Wake County EOC, each doctor works shifts as attending physicians in the emergency department at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, and they provide telemedicine for troopers at the N.C. State Highway Patrol.
At the end of the month, Drs. Merrill and Luciano-Feijoo will complete their yearlong fellowships and begin the next chapter of their careers.
Dr. Merrill will head up to Lawrence, Mass., a city of about 80,000 near the border with New Hampshire, where shes slated to become the next EMS medical director at Lawrence General Hospital. She will have a few months as an attending physician to work alongside the current director before taking over.
While shes eager to get home to friends, family and tropical weather, Dr. Luciano-Feijoo will join the faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and spend another year working as an attending physician in the universitys hospitals. She plans to keep soaking up the best practices of how EMS operates in the states, and then shell work to understand how things can change back home.
I am not well-versed on the pre-hospital system in Puerto Rico yet, she said. Thats one of my next projects.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the press release above belong solely to the company/vendor/author and do not necessarily reflect those of EMS World or HMP.
- A bill would spend $1 billion on diversifying medical schools to close the racial health gap - NBC News - August 10th, 2020
- Pandemic acts as dress rehearsal for new medical school curriculum - Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis - August 10th, 2020
- The Unnamed Hero - Pager Publications, Inc. - August 10th, 2020
- Testing is the key to a successful fall reopening on campuses (opinion) - Inside Higher Ed - August 10th, 2020
- TUNE IN: Alexandria Addressing Back-to-School Worries in Virtual Town Hall - The Zebra - August 10th, 2020
- Community Healthcare honored during National Health Center Week - Times Record News - August 10th, 2020
- When Things Arent OK With a Childs Mental Health - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- Making sure patients, physicians know about the advances in treating female cancers - Norton Healthcare - August 10th, 2020
- 'We Are Here to Help Them' | Harvard Medical School - Harvard Medical School - August 10th, 2020
- In the face of challenges posed by a pandemic and racism, the White Coat Ceremony underscores the importance of our shared humanity - AAMC - August 10th, 2020
- Physician Group Wants Medical Schools To Waive The MCAT This Year - Physicians News Digest - August 10th, 2020
- Born with 1 hand, she's an inspiration in virus fight - ABC News - August 10th, 2020
- What to Expect in Medical School - AAMC for Students ... - August 8th, 2020
- International med students ease the path for others with new mentor group - STAT - August 8th, 2020
- Texas schools reopening mandate sets off another local control debate - The Texas Tribune - August 8th, 2020
- Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Morehouse School of Medicine Welcomes Its... - Diverse: Issues in Higher Education - August 8th, 2020
- Guntersville native joins Andrews Sports med team | Free Share - Sand Mountain Reporter - August 8th, 2020
- COVID-19 changing study of medicine on Long Island - Newsday - August 8th, 2020
- Health Care Workers Of Color Nearly Twice As Likely As Whites To Get COVID-19 - WUSF News - August 8th, 2020
- Dancing Wildcats Enjoy Smoother Transition to the Field of Medicine - UKNow - August 8th, 2020
- Kindness is the best medicine - Argus Leader - August 8th, 2020
- Kindness is the best medicine | Coronavirus | rocketminer.com - Daily Rocket Miner - August 8th, 2020
- With academic health center, the imagined can be reality - Las Vegas Sun - August 8th, 2020
- Need to Take the MCAT? You'll Still Have to Do It in Person - The New York Times - August 8th, 2020
- Why isn't ventilation part of the conversation on reopening schools? - STAT - August 8th, 2020
- A UT undergrad helped build the app that will assist students coming back to school this fall. Here's what it can do. - UT News | The University of... - August 8th, 2020
- Med School Professor Removed from Fellowship Director Post, Apparently for Publishing Anti-Affirmative-Action Journal Article - Reason - August 7th, 2020
- Good Shepherd celebrates one of it's first graduates on track to realize dream of becoming doctor - WDSU New Orleans - August 7th, 2020
- Change the course of the pandemic: UMass Medical School, Boston tech company at center of national push to - MassLive.com - August 7th, 2020
- Duality Health Begins Rapid Blockchain Innovation Cycle with Health Product Innovation Team at Dell Medical School - Tyler Morning Telegraph - August 7th, 2020
- Deciding whether to send your child back to school? Heres what the experts say to consider - nj.com - August 7th, 2020
- Kaine introduces bill that would support medical schools in underserved areas - WDVM 25 - August 4th, 2020
- Medical school affiliates on lack of diversity, burden of the 'minority tax' - The Stanford Daily - August 4th, 2020
- International medical school graduates need an easier path to practice in the US | TheHill - The Hill - August 4th, 2020
- The 'dura mater' handles medical training and motherhood with aplomb - DePauw University - August 4th, 2020
- Emory University doctor and former teacher suggests staggered starts, plexiglass lunch barriers to avoid COVID-19 spread in schools - 11Alive.com WXIA - August 4th, 2020
- President Houshmand and CMSRU Dean Reboli named to South Jersey BIZ Power 50 list - Rowan Today - August 4th, 2020
- 'Its a good mix of medicine and social justice': Medical student gets experience at NATIVE Project during pandemic - The Spokesman-Review - August 4th, 2020
- Addressing inequalities in women's health research | Contemporary OB/GYN - Contemporary Obgyn - August 4th, 2020
- New medical residents experience a different kind of welcome into URMC - University of Rochester - August 4th, 2020
- 'Not surprising': International graduate students respond to short-lived ICE directive - The Stanford Daily - August 4th, 2020
- MASKED-COVID Study to Assess Renal-Related Complications of COVID-19 - DocWire News - August 4th, 2020
- Addressing inequalities in women's health research - Contemporary Obgyn - August 4th, 2020
- Seeing the Health Care Profession Through the Eyes of a Medical Scribe - Hamilton College News - August 4th, 2020
- University of Medicine and Health Sciences Launches State-of-the-Art Virtual Tour - PR Web - August 4th, 2020
- Researchers With Game - Ohio Wesleyan University - August 4th, 2020
- List of medical schools in the United States - Wikipedia - August 3rd, 2020
- Disc Medicine Expands Leadership Team with Industry Veterans to Advance Hepcidin Modulating Therapies Toward the Clinic - PRNewswire - August 3rd, 2020
- Solomon Rajput '14 takes on Michigan incumbent for seat in Congress - The Dartmouth - August 3rd, 2020
- Fighting the Coronavirus, from New York to Utah - The New Yorker - August 3rd, 2020
- Boston doctor named hospital hero relied on human connection to get through COVID peak - Boston Herald - August 3rd, 2020
- Starkman: Beaumont Executive Paid $932000 by Hospital Vendor Whose Implants Were Pushed on Surgeons - Deadline Detroit - August 3rd, 2020
- Students need to be tested every 2-3 days for colleges to safely reopen - Yale News - August 3rd, 2020
- Taking Medicine and Tech to the Next Level: Ranney on New Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health - GoLocalProv - August 3rd, 2020
- Medical Schools Have Historically Been Wrong on Race - The New York Times - August 3rd, 2020
- After the Match: The Match in the Age of COVID-19 : Emergency Medicine News - LWW Journals - July 31st, 2020
- North Philly coronavirus risk: Temple University's return to campus is irresponsible - On top of Philly news - Billy Penn - July 31st, 2020
- Researchers Discover Stem Cells in Optic Nerve that Preserve Vision - Newswise - July 31st, 2020
- Pre-med students spend the summer studying COVID-19 - DePauw University - July 31st, 2020
- The Author of Blacks in Medicine on Race, Racism, and Health Outcomes - KCET - July 31st, 2020
- Five Questions With: Dr. Ben Abo on Snakes and Television - EMSWorld - July 31st, 2020
- We asked 20 medical experts whether they're sending their own kids back to school. Here's what they had to say - CNBC - July 31st, 2020
- NYU Long Island School of Medicine Is First School on Long Island to Start 202021 Term, May Be Microcosm of 'Hybrid' Class Model - NYU Langone Health - July 31st, 2020
- Medical education in the time of COVID-19 - Science Advances - July 31st, 2020
- Rutgers New Jersey Medical School - July 31st, 2020
- Discrimination in the medical curriculum: are medical schools providing students with equal access to the medical profession? - The European Sting - July 31st, 2020
- Marshall School of Medicine 1 of 9 schools to offer Mission Act scholarships to veterans - Huntington Herald Dispatch - July 30th, 2020
- Irish medical school students learning about Sarnia area - Sarnia and Lambton County This Week - July 30th, 2020
- Michigan Medicine named one of best 20 hospitals in U.S. News rankings - MLive.com - July 30th, 2020
- What Cuba Can Teach the U.S. About Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic - southseattleemerald.com - July 30th, 2020
- Stem Cell Therapy Injuries More Widespread Than We Knew - UConn Today - July 30th, 2020
- Want to be a doctor? A lawyer? COVID-19 cases are rising, but these high-stakes exams are in-person only - USA TODAY - July 29th, 2020
- Payne named associate dean for health information and data science Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis - Washington University... - July 29th, 2020
- Mind the Gap: A 20-Year-Old Black Medical Student Is Writing a Guide Illustrating How Common Medical Symptom - The Root - July 29th, 2020
- Elizabeth Williams Talks Healthcare With Her Series "E Talks With Docs" - Jul 28, 2020 - Sports Are From Venus - July 29th, 2020
- School of Medicine one of nine schools to offer Mission Act scholarships to veterans - HNN Huntingtonnews.net - July 29th, 2020
- News | From ESL to Medical School, RIC Grad Overcomes Obstacles in Pursuit of Her Dreams - Rhode Island College News - July 29th, 2020
- Med students make history in Clovis - The Business Journal - July 29th, 2020
- The Doctor Behind the Disputed Covid Data - The New York Times - July 29th, 2020
- Dr. Stella Immanuel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know - Heavy.com - July 29th, 2020