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For Residents, Uncharted Waters

For Residents, Uncharted Waters

Nobody enters a residency expecting to confront a pan­demic, but that’s exactly what happened to Zach Claudio and Shira Ziegler. Claudio, a third-year resident, remembers the pandemic’s onset as being “in unchartered waters,” what with anxieties of how the disease spread, whether children would be af­fected, and if residents would get sick en masse. Claudio says that unease was quelled somewhat “as Hopkins had been manufacturing some of their own PPE, so we knew we had adequate supplies versus some friends I knew who worked in community hospitals.”

Claudio was redeployed into an adult ICU. His last adult care experi­ence came in medical school, and he admits, “I was nervous at first, because a lot of the co-morbidities these adults had I hadn’t seen in quite some time, being a pediatric resident. But we had a really strong team where no one cared that I was a pediatrician; I always felt I had someone who could answer my questions, and I never felt like I was doing anything unsafe.”

For Ziegler, a third-year pediatrics and genetics resident with an M.D./Ph.D., COVID ground her research to a sudden halt. “They needed (clinical) hands, and though it’s a little cliché, I had this very inner desire to help,” says Ziegler, who volunteered to work in the part of the PICU redesigned for adult patients with COVID. “We cre­ated a biodome and had to bring in all this adult equipment; new beds, pumps, supplies, lots of logistics for dealing with patients five times larger than who we’re used to taking care of,” says Ziegler. “But our team rallied and just came together, focusing on giving them the best care during a novel virus and circumstances nobody could have expected.”

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